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Caren Cole

Caren Cole

My Teaching Philosophy Why study music? Scientific research has proven that music education enhances many cognitive abilities like left and right brain communication, reading and language skills, listening skills, eye hand coordination ,focused attention and self-discipline. It also builds imagination, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and empathy through emotional sensitivity and teamwork. Personally, music has given so much more than just the qualities listed above. It has been an emotional touchstone, an outlet for self-expression, a lifetime of intellectual challenges and triumphs, a sense of community with other musicians, a joyful livelihood and most importantly something of beauty and meaning to share with my fellow human beings. My teaching philosophy has evolved through a lifetime of having been student, teacher and performer. I’ve learned from and been influenced by my own teachers in both the jazz and classical worlds, by the works of educators Maria Montessori and Shinichi Suzuki and by my own students who show me by their response, how to reach and inspire them. While my approach to a lesson will be somewhat different with a 5 year old than a 12 year old, I have certain precepts that apply to all levels. A typical lesson will go something like this: First I create an atmosphere of warmth , enthusiasm and fun. I am always excited and happy to greet my student and inquire as to their well being. It’s important to me that they feel safe, cared for and visible as individuals. I ask about their practicing that week and what they enjoyed playing the most. I start with scales, sight reading, the pieces and then theory which often extends into homework that they email back to me to grade before our next lesson..) For young beginners I use the Alfred Series method books which I treasure for their incremental and progressive approach of starting with simple concepts and adding gradually to the complexity. Their early beginner series “Music For Little Mozarts” is greatly enjoyed by my 4 – 6 year old students. There are subsequent sets that appeal to specific age groups. Once these books have gotten the student to a certain level of elementary proficiency I will explore the next step with the student and parents. Depending on the road one wishes to take, we can musical development with the method books and contemporary pieces or for those wanting an excellent comprehensive classical education, there is the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Certificate program. This provides the student with opportunities for professional assessment and accreditation while deepening their understanding and development of technique, repertoire, music history and theory. Our yearly recital is a major event for us and we work together to make the presentations special and individual. Performance gives students an opportunity to share with their peers, to build confidence and to enjoy a sense of accomplishment which is acknowledged with a certificate of achievement. In terms of discipline and responsibility to the process, for each lesson I create a hand written lesson page, using stickers, drawings (age specific) and colored pencils to highlight and draw attention to new concepts learned and special instructions for the next week’s practice. I make my expectations clear and concise. Their feedback is heard and acted upon so as to make sure they feel respected and have a voice in the process. I try to foster individuality and creative expression in the following ways: Some of my students write their own music. For those who write their own music, I help them shape a melody, refine a rhythm, and work with the rhyming lyrics. If they are advanced enough to write their music on staff paper, I encourage it. For those not yet able to do that I will create their sheet music on Finale software with appropriate graphics or drawings. For all students I encourage the use of imagery and story lines to bring their music in to the realm of imagination and exciting interpretation. In closing, I hope that my teaching gives my students not only the skills to read, write, interpret and play beautiful music, but confidence and comfort in their own creative expression and the beauty of their individuality.

Instrument / Discipline

  • Piano
  • Voice

Spoken languages

  • English

Specialized in

  • Youth (7-17)
  • Adults (18+)
  • Young Children (under 7)
  • Beginner/Elementary
  • Intermediate

Teaches At

  • Online
  • Student's home
  • Teacher's home

Specialist designation

  • Piano - Elementary

Professional development

  • RCM Elementary - Certification - 2020

School Associations

  • Music Teachers National Association - National