Welcome to my online home!

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Teresa Young, Cropped HS, by John LivzeyExplore my music teaching practice, my coaching practice, and browse blog posts that share a bit of my creative journey during the past three action-packed years.

You can also view my teaching profile through takelessons.com.

Enjoy, and contact me or takelessons.com with your interest in music lessons in North L.A.! (I’m in the pretty Sherwood Forest area of Northridge.)

A few parent testimonials follow.

My children quoteTeresa’s patience, respect, passion and her infectious love for music are evident during every lesson. After the first meeting, my daughter knew immediately she wanted to pursue playing the piano. Teresa has been amazing in fostering this passion! Each week my daughter can’t wait to go back!!

I feel great quoteBeing musicians, we notice that our son’s musicality is growing. His musical coordination is already flourishing, which makes us all very happy!

Teresa is an amazing teacher with great energy, good will toward the children and parents, supportive, kind, and present. Being a parent herself, she is very much aware of the kids’ needs. She goes above and beyond…

I could see quote

Sharing important music education research!

HuffPost MusicEd PieceI got wind of a recent Huffington Post piece on music education through my childhood friend Dr. Nancy Gamso, woodwind faculty at Ohio Wesleyan University. The short article reports on important research findings on the power of music education to close achievement gaps. I’ll share it with you here and interpret it for you briefly in this post.

A study just out from Northwestern University shows results of research on the impact of music education on the nervous systems of at-risk children and their resulting achievement gains. Northwestern partnered with L.A.’s Harmony Project after the organization contacted researchers to share their own remarkable findings:  Since 2008, “over 90 percent of high school seniors who participated in Harmony Project’s free music lessons went on to college, even though the high school dropout rates in the surrounding Los Angeles areas can reach up to 50 percent.” That statistic in itself is PHENOMENAL. Northwestern’s press release quotes Harmony Project founder, Dr. Margaret Martin, saying that “this success is rooted, at least in part, in the unique brain changes imparted by making music.”

HuffPost ResearchPiece“Researchers from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern spent two summers with children in Los Angeles who were receiving music lessons through Harmony Project, a non-profit organization providing free music education to low-income students. In order to document how music education changed children’s brains, students were hooked up to a neural probe that allowed researchers to see how they distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills.” Continue reading

A philosophy of music education

Singing funIntroduction

Music and children have been two central themes in my beautiful life, so I’m thrilled to begin articulating my point of view as a music educator. In case you don’t know, we’re at a critical juncture, at least here in Southern California, where arts programming has been of late and remains either scarce or at best vulnerable, and where new catch phrases like “arts integration” are currently going down the wrong road, minus substantive input from seasoned arts specialists. It’s essential that we re-focus on time-tested approaches to excellence in arts programming and commit to new ones grounded in what we know. So this piece is, as much as a philosophy statement, a defense of consistent, truly collaborative models for music and arts education.

First, very importantly, my approach is, yes, fundamentally integrative. I don’t want the term to become a pejorative! My natural, joyful focus is on providing avenues through which children and young people can express themselves, build musical skills, and perhaps catch the expressive “bug”, with its happy itch for deeper musical exploration, while meanwhile benefiting from the musical elaboration of all kinds of curricular themes. This translates to endless excitement, for my students and for me.

ricardo-in-belizeI’ll also declare here that I’m a generalist, a term I was introduced to beautifully a decade or so ago by my gifted architect/artist collaborator Ricardo Accorsi. (More about the relationship between architecture and music someday, with pleasure.) As a generalist, I provide opportunities to challenge and enrich all students, not just the most musical ones. It’s a privilege, and amazing terrain: the positive energy, playfulness, openness, curiosity, and courage of children. They teach, lighten, inspire, and delight me daily. So, with this background info as context, I’ll share an overarching educational philosophy that rings true to me these days, within which I’m passionate about integrating music, the arts, and more.

Individualized Learning for Individual Learners

I think about how many times a new declaration of what to teach and test has been made in recent years. In the midst of it all, and armed with everything I’ve learned since my own early childhood, through teaching, and in raising my three grown sons, it seems to me now that everything comes down to individual learners, to who they each are and what makes each one tick, to going deep into projects that interest them as fulcrums through which all kinds of learning can occur, including critical thinking, analysis, research, synthesis, expository and creative writing, and substantive exposure to relevant technologies. Continue reading

Welcome to summer!

Summer post pic 1Ahhhhh. Summer! The time has arrived to hang up my teacher hat for a while and jam out on my other multiple passions. First and foremost is a return to balance, in ratio of unstructured to structured time, and to the quality of self-care that comes with a balanced daily, weekly and monthly schedule. It’s rejuvenation time.

Next up, again, time—it’ll be a summer theme—to connect with family and friends. Kevin and I are in Denver for a couple of weeks, relaxing (fantastic!) and visiting with his family. And I have important experiences coming up with loved ones in New York and Florida. I’m always excited to feed my wanderlust while getting to be with my people!

Summer post pic 3Meanwhile, for me, relaxing is, well, an interesting word. Or should I say I have an interesting approach. I get it from my mom, who was a bit of a whirling dervish during my childhood. I’ll continue working on my second poetry compilation, get a new tune list together for making some “grownup music”, cogitate on other business and creative ventures, and explore and share all the summer foods and experiences that I love.

One bit of sharing that I’m looking forward to doing here relates to my philosophy of music education. My last few summers have included lots of amazing training. This summer I’ll skip all that. I just want time—have I mentioned time yet?—to reflect on everything that I’m passionate about in facilitating the musical lives of children and young people. Woooo! Glorious summer ensues.