Introducing Althea and Naomi, my featured musicians for November and December!
I am delighted to introduce a wonderful family who I have been very lucky to make music with for many, many years now. Althea and Naomi have been with me since I was teaching in our smaller house when my sons were very small, they stayed with me when I taught in the West Music conservatory for several years, and they are my stalwart Friday friends in my current home studio.
I have seen a huge amount of musical development from each of them over the years and I have also had the real privilege of being alongside them as they grew and gathered many other interests and continued to keep music in their lives while they explore ballet, taekwondo, basketball, art and many of the other pleasures of life. I encourage you to read their answers above to see all the wonder they find in the world.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I get a real surge of joy from seeing my students making music with their family members and so I especially love when their dad Ryan joins them on mandolin and guitar and their mom Jen joins them on piano and flute. Our fellow beloved Family Folk Machiners and audience members also know what marvelous singers they all are.
This family of truth seekers and kindness givers weaves their love of music into the splendid landscape of life’s many treasures and I stand in awe of all the beauty they share with us.
Introducing Silas, my featured musician for September and October!
I’ve only had the privilege of working with Silas for one year and it is astounding to look back and see all that we’ve already explored together.
Silas is a natural adventurer, choosing to learn about the world by jumping right into the experiences that spark his curiosity. We had only been working together for a few weeks when he arrived at his lesson with his first composition in hand. Together we played through it and I helped him translate what he had written using finger numbers into standard notation. Oh, the thrill when the computer played back his song to him!
Since then, the compositions have been flowing steadily. I have a file of student compositions that I keep on my computer and Silas’s creations now make up almost 20% of the content in that file. It is fascinating to observe how the musical concepts that we explore in lessons organically manifest themselves in his compositions as we progress.
Silas’s technique continues to strengthen along with his creative victories so he is well placed to soon reach his goal of “playing piano very fast” that he states above. He capably achieves all that he sets out to accomplish by taking on challenges at his own beautiful pace with his eager, openhearted mindset toward learning.
My students inspire me so much.
Introducing Lucy, my featured musician for July and August!
One of my favorite aspects of producing these featured musician profiles every other month is what I learn about my students and how that new knowledge relates to what I’ve already seen from them in the context of working together each week.
I knew of course that Lucy has been taking lessons since May 2015 because my studio software keeps track of these things for me. When I consider all that Lucy has accomplished in just over three years of study while at the same time establishing a thriving acupuncture, Asian bodywork therapy & Chinese herbs practice, I am overwhelmed with adoration and pride.
Lucy regularly attends and fully participates in various Irish music sessions around town. She has also performed locally many times and a recent successful open mic performance culminated in her being invited to open for a touring folk band. I’m going to pause there and let you take that in. Amazing.
Lucy has listed “collaboration with other musicians to make music that inspires others to move and dance” and that inspires me to fondly remember that Lucy and I first met in a dance class. Her innate love of moving to music comes through so beautifully in her playing.
I also love what Lucy has to say about the rhythm of the seasons, community and the importance of embracing the beginner’s mind. These are all deep values for me as well and are the roots of where I find my purpose as an artist.
Congratulations to Lucy for all she has accomplished, for all she brings to our community, and for her sheer courage, determination, and dedication to playing her important part in our miraculous musical ecosystem.
Introducing Trapolin, my featured musician for May and June!
Every teacher knows that you learn at least as much from your students as you could ever hope to impart to them. This has never been more true than in the case of Trapolin.
Trapolin has a huge breadth of knowledge in so many interesting and uniquely connected topics. His profile posted above is an excellent example of the innumerable ways that music is enmeshed in a dedicated musician’s individual spectrum of interests.
Please also notice Trapolin’s answer to the “best thing about being a musician”. He has already at the tender age of 16 authentically embraced the therapeutic benefits of music making.
We could all learn from Trapolin’s wisdom in honoring how music blooms in his individual experience. I believe that originates at least in part from the unconditional support and enthusiasm that I see in his family as they each pursue their own and celebrate in each other’s creative interests.
I see a long and happy musical future for Trapolin and I’m so grateful for all that he continues to teach me.
Introducing Waelyn, my featured musician for March and April!
Waelyn is a wonder. She has never met a melody that she doesn’t retain, can hear and demonstrate melodic similarities in vastly different pieces of music, and her impeccable rhythm extends to her comic timing, much to my continued delight.
Perhaps it is no coincidence given her musical gifts that Waelyn’s parents are two of my favorite local musicians (Benj and Nicole Upchurch). Even beyond my admiration of them as musicians, I really appreciate parents like Benj and Nicole who share my belief in music being a joyful, lifelong pursuit and never ever a drudgery or a battleground.
Given her vast array of interests and talents and her impressively balanced sense of self, I am curious and excited to witness how Waelyn’s passions will manifest in the coming years. I am grateful to be playing a part in her story.
Introducing Beth, my featured musician for January and February!
Teaching Beth is a delight for so many reasons. Let me count the ways:
- well-rounded multipotentialite lifelong learners like Beth are the most inspiring and interesting people with whom to spend time. I strive every day to count myself in this group. Here she lists her “interests outside music” but I happen to know that she has many additional talents not listed here, including being a very gifted visual artist.
- dedicating oneself to mastering a complicated instrument like the fiddle is a task that takes years. Beth cheerfully honors this commitment each year and together we rejoice in noting the ways in which she has grown musically over time.
- Beth embraces the ways in which learning music benefits her overall health as well as challenges her areas of growth.
- Beth is very funny and kind and is wonderfully supportive of me and of her fellow students.
Congratulations to you, Beth! You are a light in my life.
Introducing Stella, my featured musician for November and December!
How awesome is the self-portrait that Stella provided for her featured musician poster?!! I hope you can tell that the shirt she is wearing reads “Be Who You Are”. Stella embodies that message so well.
It also delights me to no end that Stella’s mother Katie captured a photo of our very first fiddle lesson together 4 years ago when she was just shy of her fifth birthday.
Since that first lesson, Stella and I have learned so much together. We sing in nearly every lesson because two people who love to sing as much as we do just can’t help ourselves when we get together. We are also both shameless multi-instrumentalists. The more music, the better! I’m actually quite jealous of Stella’s collection of musical instruments and I highly doubt the collection is complete.
Stella draws deep inspiration from performing and I believe it stems at least in part from her generous spirit. She truly understands how much joy a passionate performance brings to the audience and she loves to spread happiness. There is very likely a genetic component as well, given how richly blessed Stella is on both sides of her family with a legacy of performance and music making that goes back many generations.
Please join me in wishing Stella a happy birthday and a hearty congratulations on all her musical accomplishments past, present and future!
Introducing Dannye and Rob, my featured musicians for September and October!
There is a special place in my heart for family music-making so it’s an extra thrill to be featuring a mother and son for the first time in my featured musician series.
In addition to making music at home, in school ensembles and at church, Dannye and Rob as well as Rob’s two sisters regularly bring their musical gifts to enrich the guests and staff at The Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. I find it truly beautiful that they are so committed to using their talents to share joy and inspiration.
You can follow some of Dannye’s other creative pursuits at her writing website DannyeChase.com.
Introducing Nina, my featured musician for July and April!
Shortly after Nina and her wonderful family moved to the area, I noticed her beautiful voice and serene presence in the Family Folk Machine and my heart leaped in recognition of a true up-and-coming artist.
Nina’s innate talent is matched ounce for ounce by sheer determination and she has already accomplished an incredible amount as a fiddler, not the least of which was her May 2017 appearance in City Circle‘s ANNIE GET YOUR GUN both as an actor and an onstage fiddler. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for our Nina.
Introducing Ambrose, my featured musician for May and June!
Ambrose’s talent for composition has been emerging alongside his pianistic abilities beginning very early on in our musical adventures together.
Ambrose has the unique and precious ability of finding and revealing stories in his music. I feel so grateful for the gift of witnessing him discover himself as an artist.