“It is necessary to be concerned about the importance of educating a really beautiful human spirit”   -  Dr. Suzuki

Karen’s philosophy in life and in teaching music is inspired by Dr. Shinichi IMG_6147Suzuki. Music lessons exist not simply for the skill of playing an instrument but for the development of humans to live with noble, beautiful, and kind hearts. As a mother once wrote to her daughter, “The sound that comes dancing out of your violin—that is your heart, Emi. What kind of heart do you have, I wonder? From a beautiful heart comes a beautiful sound.” Without this inner beauty, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity, music simply sounds like robotic button-pushing and Karen is very proud to proclaim that her job will never be taken over by robots!

It is because of the community of kind teachers, supportive parents, open-minded students, excited friends, and encouraging families that music brings positivity and growth to everyone involved. Over the years, Karen has seen her students evolve from apprehensive to adventurous, disorderly to disciplined, and from inelegant to sensitive. When asked why she chooses to teach music, the answer is always quite simple: because those involved in music become better human beings.

Music touches on all domains of learning, including the physiological development of coordination, the cognitive acquisition of knowledge, and the emotional & affective domain, including self-confidence and personal awareness.

Music lessons in the studio include technical exercises, a wide variety of repertoire, sight reading, ear training, and rhythm activities, historical significances, small compositions, and written theoretical work. Emphasis is given to enjoyment and excitement at all times, but met with accuracy and attentiveness.

Karen strives to develop the whole child – not just the musical skill level – and expand a student’s knowledge of the world. For example, if a student is playing Russian Folk Song, they are given “atlas homework” and required to find Russia on a map. If they are playing a Waltz, they will be given “YouTube homework” to see what the dance looks like. If they are playing Cappriccio, they are required to look up the word “caprice” in an English dictionary. Ultimately, she hopes to encourage sensitivity and compassion for all cultures and beliefs.

Music is best when shared and Karen emphasizes building a strong musical community within her studio. Studio events include monthly group lessons, frequent field trips to visiting pianists or the Calgary Philharmonic, an annual recital, and piano parties. Preparation for RCM or Conservatory Canada exams, Contemporary Showcase, and Kiwanis Music Festival may also be considered.

Piano lessons are not simply a once-per-week event, but a wonderful lifestyle full of growth and exploration. Karen hopes to help your child become the best person, as well as the best musician, they can be. Whether that means playing for self expression, playing in a jazz band, or entering a performing arts school, these goals are secondary to becoming the most gentle, compassionate, diligent, and empathetic person possible.