I began teaching at age 14 when I took over my mother’s piano studio of 20 students. I realized then that this was what I wanted to do in life. The next year I applied to Gulf Coast State College to major in music. The college told me that I would be their experiment as they had never had a student that young before. So when I was 16 I enrolled as a piano major. I received my A. A. degree at age 19. During this time I was also a member of the local, state and national music teachers associations.
I subsequently received Suzuki violin teacher training at the University of Louisville and Suzuki piano teacher training at the University of New Orleans. I also studied Piano Pedagogy under Dr. Carolyn Wilson (retired) from Chipola College.
During these past 40 years of teaching I have attended numerous workshops and master classes. In 2003 I attained my goal of becoming a state and nationally certified teacher. Preparing for the exam was a wonderful learning experience. I’m really glad I did it as it made me a better teacher. In 2008 I won and accepted a scholarship from the Piano Technicians Guild and Music Teachers National Association. This scholarship was to obtain teacher training for RMM (Recreational Music Making). I accepted the scholarship and received my training in Denver, Colorado. And most recently, in May 2013, I was featured as Teacher of the Month for MusicLink Foundation. I felt honored to share my story with this wonderful organization.
I have over 40 years experience teaching private lessons to all ages in piano. I also teach violin, ukulele and baroque recorders and coach beginning students in guitar and teenagers working in theatre. I began using technology in my studio in 1994. I was the second person to do this in my area. The ability to teach more than just how to play the piano or any instrument is very important to me. I have also been able to teach music history, theory, ear training, composition, multicultural music, etc. by means of technology such as my Ipad, computers, keyboards, and software.
Ensemble experience is another aspect of music which I love to teach. I teach group piano classes in the summer for young people. I also have coached several ensembles. I put together a harp, piano, and violin trio (ages 11, 12 and 15) which played for weddings and civic functions for which they were paid. They were also invited to play at the Young Artist Concert locally. Later, due to my love of music history, I formed a medieval consort of Baroque recorders (ages 7, 9, 11, and 15). They performed around town and were invited to play twice at local area schools and Chipola Jr. College. In 2008 I revived the medieval consort as a Medieval and Renaissance Song and Dance program with different students and instruments. We performed in full costume for the children of Bay County at the Bay County Library and also for Patronis and Lynn Haven Elementary. My studio has also presented Multi-cultural World Rhythms and Peter and the Wolf at the Library and Girls, Inc.
In 2003 I helped to form the first ever Honors Piano Camp here in Panama City. It was sponsored by FSU - Panama City, Gulf Coast State College, and NW FL Music Teachers Association. I developed and taught music history classes for the camp every summer up through July 2007 after which the Fine Arts Department at the college decided to no longer host the camp. I have also taught the ensemble classes and private piano lessons at the camp.
Starting in the fall of 2007 I was invited by the Gulf Coast State College Office of Lifelong Learning to teach Music Appreciation for mature adults during Education Encore. This was a six week course taught in the spring and fall of each year. I also developed a new course entitled “A Survey of Western Composers”. I put everything on PowerPoint myself which allowed me to showcase the sights and sounds of all the musical periods as well as American and World music. The students loved it. I still use it for my private students.
While I was in college I and a vocalist performed around town for several organizations as a volunteer. During this time I joined FSMTA and MTNA. I participated in all the workshops and events our local organization sponsored. I married and moved to North Carolina, but when I moved back to Panama City I rejoined the music associations. As soon as I became an active member I began to hold office in Northwest Florida Music Teachers Association (NFMTA). I was President for 4 years and am currently Director and Vice President. As president and director I have worked all of our many community service activities. These include playathons to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Respite Center, bringing Project: Music and the Arts to our area public schools, District Student Day through FSMTA, Kidfest to raise money for FL Dept. of Children and Families, Spring Benefit Concerts for local school music programs and our Bay County Library’s Youth Services Department, Honors Piano Camp and many more too numerous to mention.
For 4 years I held the non-voting position of Chairman of Community Service Awards on the Executive Board of Fl State Music Teachers Association (FSMTA), 4 year tenure as the Provisional Member Advisor for FSMTA, 8 years as a voting member of the Executive Board of FSMTA and held the position of Vice President of Non-Competitive Student Events and then Apprentice Judging Chair. Currently I am still a voting member of the Executive Board and hold the position of Vice President of Local and District Associations. I have attended numerous State conferences throughout Florida and National conferences throughout the nation.
In past years I was also a member of the American College of Musicians as well as Florida Federation of Music Clubs and served as secretary for Capital District.
I have also served as an adjudicator for all the above organizations at one time or another.
And most gratifyingly, I have seen several of my students follow in my footsteps by pursuing a career in music and receiving various music degrees. Some are even teaching others now! You can't ask for more than the ability to pass on your knowledge and see scores of students become functional musicians that can do much more for all their hard work than just play a couple of recital songs.