I’ve been passionate about the piano since 1990. I started lessons at age 8 with my teacher of 10 years, Pam Tallman (pictured with me below), who was an active member of MTAC (the Music Teacher's Association of California). I began teaching piano to my two younger sisters when I was 11 years old. I started teaching other students (outside my family) when I was 14, and continued teaching until I was 20. Pam was my mentor and lovingly nurtured my gift for teaching.
When I was 17, I had the opportunity to take music composition from Martha (Marty) Ashleigh for one year, which led to a lifelong love for composing and music theory. As I went on to study music in college, I continued to take music theory from Marty, and studied piano under Dr. Stephen Thomas at California State University Stanislaus.
At 20 years old, my life took a drastic shift when I decided to leave the music world and change my college major. I transferred to Moody Bible Institute that year and soon switched to a different field: ministry and people-helping. I obtained my B.A. in Family Ministries in 2006. I worked in the nonprofit world and in special education classrooms for 3 years.
In 2009, I moved to Seattle to earn my Master’s in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, which I completed in 2013. Through all of this time, I never lost my love for music, but I wasn’t sure how it would fit into the rest of my life. I felt that I was called to bring healing to people, and so that is what I focused on.
After I graduated from The Seattle School, I worked as a counselor and case manager for adults with developmental disabilities for 2 years. These clients taught me much about life, true beauty, and what it means to be human. I started a handbell choir for them as a therapy group, which was a lot of fun and taught me more about how to make music accessible to all ages and abilities!
Eventually, I began to feel drawn back into teaching piano again. I started teaching my first Seattle piano student in 2016, and it felt like coming home.
I began to realize that teaching music is a way of healing! It's a way of helping people reconnect with their emotions and bodies and souls. All my years of training as a therapist sharpened my focus on how amazing music lessons are: they help instill confidence, self-discipline, self-esteem, and lead to a healthy expression of all kinds of emotions. Through music lessons, a child builds a unique one-on-one relationship with a caring adult that they see week after week, year after year.
I’ve thought a lot about how my teacher Pam was there to spend devoted time helping me, week in and week out, for 10 years. I can’t say that of any other human being on the planet. This kind of teacher-student relationship is what helps children with high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores build resilience and hope, even in the face of extreme difficulty. Suffice it to say, I had a lot of difficulty in my childhood to overcome. But Pam and the piano were always there for me. My gratitude toward her runs deep.
I will be forever grateful to my amazing teachers who not only taught me well, but also loved me well. They gave me the priceless gift of being able to express my feelings and ideas through music. It is my sincere hope that my life’s work will be honoring to their legacy.