We've arrived in Music City, Maryland! / By Sarah

After a long, long drive and plenty of heavy lifting, we're finally settled in Catonsville! We chose this spot because of it's proximity to Baltimore and Ellicott City, and we couldn't be happier. It has tons of character and charm and we're so close to everything! It's great to be back on the East Coast near my family and friends again, although I am sure I will feel a pang as my former students in Oklahoma start school in the coming weeks.

Last week, I was privileged to play in an original fantasy rock musical called Magic Under Glass, composed by Michael Kline and performed by the outstanding Toby's Teen Professional Theatre. I dusted off my electric violin and had a blast collaborating with the band through a much different process than I am used to. Mike gave me the freedom to create some of my own parts based on the chord charts, which I have not done much in the past, but I had a great time watching the material grow throughout the rehearsal week and adding my own touches to it. It was a truly memorable and engaging experience, and I look forward to playing on the soundtrack soon!

Over the past two weeks, we've set up the house and studio space and started meeting with some wonderful prospective families. Patrick and I have been talking for years about opening a studio and the type of program we envision. Our goal is not for every student to become a professional musician, but for each student to deeply develop a skill to their fullest potential. In developing well-rounded musicianship, students will gain confidence, build a skill they can enjoy for a lifetime, and understand the process of developing expertise, which can be applied to any discipline. A point from Robert Duke's book Intelligent Music Teaching really resonated with me: no matter the level, the goals for the student are always the same- to play well, with good posture, good tone, accurate rhythm, in tune, and expressively. Only the difficulty of the repertoire changes. Even if the child is playing "Mississippi Hot Dog" on open E, they are capable of meeting those goals, and it is our job as teachers to help them meet those standards every step of the way because they can. We will delve deeper into our teaching approach in later blog posts, including our focus on deliberate practice. We're hoping to fill our studio this fall, so spread the word! :)