There are so many adages about the power of music, that it’s a “universal language” or the “language of the soul;” it “transcends cultural differences.” Victor Hugo wrote, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and on which it is impossible to remain silent.”
Treating music as a true language might be taking it too literally, but music is a way to share experience. It’s a way to “speak” and be understood.
The need for human connection is built into every single one of us, so the ability to share our story and have it be heard and respected is the driving force behind our need to create and consume art.
That’s true of my experience as well.
We’ve all had difficulty in high school, and for me, this difficulty manifested in loneliness and feeling like there wasn’t a place in the world for me. After joining choir and beginning to plunk out my parts on the piano while practicing, I found a home sitting before those 88 keys of black and white that can create and reflect the countless colors of our experiences, both individual and shared.
I went on to study Piano Performance for my Bachelor of Arts at a small, liberal arts university in North Carolina. At the same time, I was learning how much all arts have in common, so I also studied English Literature and enjoyed the connections between literary and music theory. As I continued to participate in choir, I was intrigued about the musicality inherent in spoken poetry, and I forged ahead in my piano studies, thriving on the most inspiring pieces of music in the world.
After completing my BA, I spent a couple of years teaching and accompanying for a children’s community choir. I loved connecting with young people. They were constantly overflowing with hopeful energy and the belief that they can make the world a better place. That energy is contagious.
Those years solidified my desire to really know what makes music connect us, what in it inspires us and drives us forward, so I applied then enrolled as a Master’s student in Northwestern University’s Music Theory and Cognition Program.
My master’s project focused on the musicality of poetry and the way composers set text, inspired by a 2001 article by theorist Fred Lerdahl, “The Sounds of Poetry Viewed as Music.” Using a combination of linguistics and music theory, I got to see that music may be more of an actual language than I originally thought. In addition to this major project, I also studied emotion and expectation in music, rhythm and meter, music and the body, and many other exciting sub-topics that I wasn’t aware existed in music theory.
I’m back to teaching now (online because of the pandemic!) and am thankful for the opportunity to introduce students to the beautiful depths of music, piano, and music theory. More than this, I love getting to connect with each student. Their stories are unique, and working with every single one is inspiring in a different way.
There’s a cliche that students teach the teachers a lot, but it’s so true. More than that, students inspire their teachers to keep learning. For me, that’s the real beauty of human connection: it’s an infinite cycle of inspiration.
Music is a conversation born of the deepest parts of our being. We all have a need to belong, to be heard, the be understood. Some of us find this in music.
It is my goal as a teacher and mentor to guide you to better understand and connect with others through your music. To show you the way to creating something beautiful and meaningful in a world that often makes us feel like nothing matters.
In this way, music is a magic that can change the world, and that change starts with us.
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone felt heard and respected. Imagine how you would feel if people listened to your real story and not the one you make up for them.
This is one of the gifts that music can give to us, what it’s given to me. So that’s my story.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a free appointment with me to chat about piano lessons, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through the contact form below. I say this a lot, but honestly I am really excited to meet you and hear your story. :)