I believe a good teacher maintains a lifelong passion for their subject as well as the ability to successfully share and articulate that excitement.  My obvious explanation for that statement comes from my own teachers who inspired me to pursue and stay the course. 

How I try to exemplify that is by always sensing and gauging how well the students are responding. Am I drawing them in? Are they paying attention? Are they connected? This must be kept in mind in both a large seminar as well as a more intimate setting.

How I assess if I am in fact reaching them is based on first, my observation of their willingness to push themselves vs. hang back, their willingness to ask questions vs. accept less than full understanding, If  I’ve done my job, it naturally becomes time for them to share their work. 

When teaching an art like songwriting, or piano or voice, it is most crucial that you only provide the feedback they are ready to process, and that you have carefully prepare them for receiving feedback by reinforcing the strength and the process of their initial inspiration. Students with less confidence need to be treated gently and encouraged and reminded there is no failure in the creative process; and that the inner editor can be quieted. Teaching must be student- led in that sense, and teacher must be flexible enough to allow the student to unfold.

Along with arming students with strong craft, my goals for teaching are to be the imprinter of positive feelings that the student can draw upon later, should the outside world challenge their self-belief.


Active participation in songwriting discipline: In-depth lyric writing: journaling, culling, editing.  Indexing vocal and instrumental improvisations: organizing melodic snippets, cataloguing chord progressions. Co-writing: establishing agenda, goals, targeted titles, and delegating skills. Recording releasing, performing, promoting new material as artist: growing ongoing discography with award winning producers.

Discovery, advancing knowledge:  Maintaining ongoing study of creative health, gender equality, and artists’ self-assertiveness in practice and motivation via workshop participation, and group and one-on-one mentoring with expert authors (example: Tami Lynn Kent, “Wild Creative”), maintaining and growing technical knowledge of home recording, updating software and equipment, maintaining file storage and file sharing. 

Integrating multiple disciplines:  Examining and supporting songwriting students’ simultaneous roles as expressive artists, instrumentalists, performers with public charismatic personas, acoustic scientists engaged in sound design, influencers and spokespersons via social media, digital entertainment platforms, blogs, webcasts, and visionary philosophers and leaders.

Providing opportunities for application outside classroom: Event and curriculum planning that ensures students are armed with ability to take their craft to the next level: cowrite with any collaborator of any level, perform solo or with other players in variety of settings, record in a studio setting, and share their  music with outside world with confidence to experience evaluation by others.