Case Studies

Being a good music teacher is not just about teaching instruments and techniques.  I inspire students to experience a new world and way of thinking and being, find their inner voice, and persevere in confident hope to achieve their goals. When this is setting free a voice that has been shattered or hidden, it is particularly rewarding to see the courage of those I coach.  Under my tutelage students are empowered to move to a position of self-awareness, of discerning where they are in their journeys, and to maintain momentum.

 

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Case Study for Piano Student

Common piano student pain points 5-7 yrs:

  • lack of inner motivation

  • lazy or undisciplined practicing

  • tension in wrists and shoulders

  • matching notation with the keyboard

  • maintaining a steady beat

  • playing in the indicated meter ¾, 4/4, etc.

  • difficulty with hand-eye coordination

 

A young student of 6 yrs came for piano lessons with her older sister.  The older sister was very disciplined, but the younger sister did not want to take her advice or follow her example.  After two months the parents were frustrated with their younger daughter’s  attitude towards  practicing during the week.  The mother needed a solution.  What I had noticed initially was that  her youngest daughter was happy and secure in being loved simply for who she was.  I mentioned this to the mother, and said it was healthy that her daughter had this perspective.  However, I also contracted personally with this little person (for person she was indeed!) that we both had to keep our agreements.  Her side of the contract was to practice the required amount of time during the week, which was a duty that would be rewarded.  If she did not fulfill her duty, then I said that her mother and I would be released from giving her lessons.  Her eyes popped out at me like saucers.  

 

Since that moment, she has been excited each and every week to show her practice record and receive the promised recognition in the form of stars! This holistic approach emotionally served the child by adding to her understanding rather than taking away from it and making her feel less of a human being by begin scolded. Because she was honoured and directed,  she was motivated to keep her practice commitments.  At times parents don’t have the emotional distance needed to solve these issues, which is where a thoughtful and sensitive professional can do much to remedy the situation.

 

 

 

Case study for Voice Student

 
Common pitfalls in young singers 8-18 yrs
 
  • belting the low voice up as high as it can reach

  • not understanding the importance of staying connected to the breath

  • failing to think and breathe the whole phrase

  • unfocused vowels

  • tightening the jaw

  • failure to maintain an integrated sound through all registers

  • pushing the tone through the nose

  • straining the voice
     

At twelve years Jill came to me with a recorded sample of a song she had sung at a peer sporting event.  Her sound was big, brassy and bold.  It was an impressive and mature sound for her age, with a chest register that belted up high.  I encouraged her to think of her voice within a larger culture of music appreciation that spans several centuries instead of just the present moment.  That helped her understand where I was asking her to journey.  After a few months of occasional lessons and public performance auditions that she had successfully completed, I began to ask Jill to listen to the inception of her sound with an inside ear and connect it to her breath.  The pure beauty  of her sound soared beyond imagination, and the shackles of tension fell from her vocal chords.  It reminded me that when one listens internally to one’s soul, the external world benefits, much like when you live for heaven, you receive heaven and earth.  Jill still has a lot of work to do, but she has already found her wings!