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Teaching Philosophy

Why music?


For a musician, asking "Why music?" is like asking, "Why breathe?" It is part of our identity, our life, and our reason for living!


Perhaps the better question is: Why is music important for those whom we teach?

Perhaps it is to develop the brain: There are many high-level motor skills that any musician - young or just young at heart - will develop. These coordination skills take time, but learning an instrument is a wonderful and enjoyable way to optimize the brain, especially in the areas of eye-hand coordination, rhythm, spatial awareness, pattern recognition, sound processing, and learning fractions. The brain stem and corpus callosum, which is the bundle of nerves that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain, are trained in a thousand ways when learning music!

Perhaps music is prayer!

"To sing is to pray twice." - St. Augustine

“An essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that it gives man a healthy ‘shock,’ it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum — it even... pierces him like a dart, but in so doing, it ‘reawakens’ him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft.”

— Benedict XVI, Meeting with Artists

I believe that music fills a hole in the human experience, can lift us up out of the ordinary, and can create peace and connection, both personally and socially. Learning to play music helps students understand themselves and the world around them on a deeper level.


Music students also LEARN how to LEARN:

How to study

How to break things apart

How to recognize patterns in music and in nature

How to work through a problem

How to practice "perfect" (if that's possible)

How to create their own unique voice

How to ask the hard questions

How to write music that emotionally affects us and why.


My number one goal with lessons is for you to LOVE MUSIC and be fascinated by it. If the music is enthralling, and you can't get enough of it, you will do it for fun for your whole life!

Developing your musical ability is almost entirely dependent on practice time and interest in it. A shocking number of great musicians were mostly self-taught but spent countless hours playing, listening, and imitating what they heard. They were enthralled!

I want music to be a time of play. In the case of children, I want music to be a time of one-on-one friendship and play between you and your childIdeally, practice time will be your daily 30 minute one-on-one time to spend developing your relationship - exploring and creating something fun together! (See Dr. Suzuki's book Nurtured by Love for ideas.)


One Mom of my 3 littlest students has a weekly "listening" tea party where she plays music during lunch; it's usually some classical music she likes on YouTube. They have daily practice after lunch. (Tip: Set a practice time!) The first few months were a struggle, but now, her kids do it automatically after lunch as just part of their routine and love it. It's their family thing to do together. The kids are 7, 5, and 3. The three year old insists on the daily practice time!

If music becomes too much pressure, it will be a constant battle with yourself - or your kids, and it can become an unfortunate and unpleasant memory. (I saw this numerous times growing up.) Many parents sucked the joy right out of their kids' music because of competition with other kids, competition with other parents, wanting a prodigy, or, in today's terms, comparison with a YouTube violin prodigy.


Whether you are an excellent adult amateur or a young beginner, my goal is not to create the next Beethoven - an unhappy and tormented soul. My goal is to mentor maybe the next Dvorak, Haydn, Borodin, or Bach - happy, successful musicians - or even better - a great physician, teacher, parent, or engineer - to help develop their joyful soul. We need more contented and creative people who spread joy in their lives! 

Why learn music? Music helps us celebrate life!

Rachel is available to teach and conduct:

  • All-State / All-County Orchestras

  • Solo & Ensemble Festivals

  • Summer Music Festivals

  • Orchestra Clinics 

  • Violin, Viola, Cello, Ukulele, Piano, Music Theory, and Conducting Lessons

Middle & High School Orchestras  

Video Resource

  • Are you looking for ways to help your students practice the “tricky spots” at home? 

  • Would you like video resources for your students - made by a professional string player - that are free and easy-to-find online?

  • Meet your students where they are - ONLINE! For free. On youtube.

  • Available for your use in the classroom and anywhere there is internet.


Free videos are available to you and your students on youtube! A selection of favorite educational pieces have been chosen in order to help you find and teach some of the best music out there! Videos include slow, medium, and up-to-tempo video recordings to help your student practice effectively at his or her level.


At the end of the year, I create recording projects with my young students. They are unique and creative for each student. I teach them how to use Garageband and then record them using looping and layers of tracks. Their final product is a YouTube video or CD - complete with a jewel case they design - that they can give to friends and family for holiday gifts! 

Purple Tofu - Young Violin Student
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Cripple Creek - Young Violin Student
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Bouree by J.S. Bach - Violin Student
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