My Teaching Philosophy
I am very fortunate to have had excellent teachers and a great setup from the beginning of my studies. My first teachers, Domingo García, Ramón Román, and José Francisco Del Castillo, were all steeped in the Galamian school of violin playing. This groundwork led me, at age 15, to a personal invitation from José Antonio Abreu to be part of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. The experience of being in this group, playing a different program every week, under different conductors, allowed me to build a very significant orchestral repertoire from a very young age.
Margaret Pardee was a huge influence in my playing—up until I met her I was relying on natural ability and imitation to get me by. But seeing and participating in her masterclasses made me look at the instrument in a different way. I had never been in a masterclass of only scales and arpeggios! My curiosity was piqued, and I became passionate about technique development. The years I worked as her assistant are among the most fruitful of my teaching career.
Another major player in my violinistic life was the great violin pedagogue Joey Corpus, who took me on as I was experiencing a devastating crisis of confidence. He helped me regain my voice through a combination of the technique I already knew, plus hefty doses of common sense, humor, and patience. He truly saved my life.
In the last several years, I have been expanding my horizons as a musician by training with several incredible musicians in the city of Vienna, Austria, cradle of the Western musical tradition. I feel that by combining the American/Franco-Belgian groundwork of technique and the refinement and elegance of the Viennese style, I have become a much more complete and well-rounded performer and teacher. My students have benefited from this as well, and have gone on to win competitions, scholarships, and positions in orchestras all over the world.
I believe technique is the basis for expression.
I believe your sound is your voice.
I believe you can produce a big sound without tension or injury.
I believe that you can improve greatly at any level.
I believe you are never finished learning.
I will teach you how to practice mindfully and utilize your time in the most efficient way possible.
I will teach you how to be aware of your body and make it work for you.
I will teach you how to develop your own particular sound.
I will teach you to teach yourself.
Photo credit: Michael Avagliano
Master Class in Floyd, VA