I was born in Wood River, Illinois (near St. Louis) to Greek parents. As a child I attended the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, where my Aunt (the original “Operalady”) was the choir director, my Mother the organist, and my Father a “lifer” parish council member. Music in the church was a foundation element in my childhood and a natural skillset for me to develop further in my college education. After High School, I attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL to pursue a music degree, where I studied under Sarah Turner. After 2 years, I moved to Houston and continued my education at the University of Houston studying under Jean Preston. I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice at the University of Houston in 1986. As a young adult, I left music for a time to pursue a career as an optician and later a Corporate Trainer with both Pearle and Eye Care Centers of America. When my daughters were born in the 1990’s, I left the corporate world to become a stay at home Mom. That’s when I brought them to St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church (in Webster, Texas), to experience something of what I had as a child. This brought me back to my musical beginnings, and I became choir director there in 1998.
The father of my daughters and I parted ways in 2004 and I was thrust into the urgent need to make money while raising my daughters. Thus, my music studio was born, run from my home. My clients were primarily children (friends of my daughters), with some adult students. I taught piano, voice and music theory. Fast-forward six years to find romance and serenity with the love of my life, my husband David. Our blended family moved into a home that supported a musical studio environment. By 2015, I had 70 students, and was well beyond full-time in the practice of musical education. That same year, my husband’s job called him to Austin. I uprooted my successful studio for solar power plant design engineering!
I set about rebuilding my studio practice once we settled into our home. I have since developed a more reasonable studio load of ~40 students, with a similar mix of children and adults in piano and voice. The music of the Greek Orthodox church is still very important to me. You can find me singing in the pews or chanting at the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church here in Austin most Sundays. Also, I am still very much involved with St. John’s in Webster. When circumstances permit, I return to lead the choir.
My focus of teaching voice is classical in nature. I believe that the purpose of a voice teacher is to master the techniques of using the voice properly. The first 10 minutes of a voice lesson is devoted to vocal exercise, followed by a vocalise. The latter half of the lesson is devoted to readying songs for performance. My specialties are classical art songs and arias, and Broadway tunes.
My teaching is more traditional in nature, however, I am familiar with jazz/blues improvisation, and learning with lead sheets.
When teaching piano, I focus on five areas: Lesson, technique, theory, general musicianship skills (scales, chords, harmonization, improvisation, sightreading, & ear training), and project pieces from various eras of music (baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary, & jazz/pop/rock). Depending on time, I won’t always cover each area in a lesson, but will touch on all during the course of the year.
Some of the things we use in the studio to heighten the learning experience is technology. Students will have the opportunity to use such pedagogical programs as SmartMusic, Home Concert Xtreme, and Classroom Maestro to help develop musicality. For skype lessons, Internet MIDI is a great tool! Areas of focus: sightreading, transposition, scales & chord structure, harmonization, and creative composition. I relate these ideas in a non-stress yet motivating climate. In addition to musical skills, my “keys” to success are communication and fun!
- Music Teachers National Association
- Austin District Music Teachers Association
- Bay Area Music Teachers Association
- Wednesday Morning Music Club – National Federation of Music Clubs, Austin
- Gulf Coast Music Association – National Federation of Music Clubs, Clear Lake (gold cup) – President 2011-2015
- National Guild of Piano Teachers
- National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)
- Choir Director, St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church – 1998 to present
Festivals and events students may participate in:
- Jazz/Pop Festival – in the Fall
- State Theory Test (student affiliate members only) – in the Fall and Spring
- Contemporary/Baroque Repertoire Festival – January/February
- Gold Cup Festival – typically first Saturday in March
- Romantic/Sonatina Repertoire Festival – April
- Musicianship Repertoire Festival – late April
- Piano Guild – May
- TMTA Student Affilliate Events at annual convention – June
Additionally, I hold two recitals a year, in December, and late spring.