When/how did you decide to take the plunge into owning your own business? When I was in graduate school, I was hired as a music director for a summer performing arts camp. I led music classes every day and accompanied the show that the campers put on at the end of the camp. One of the camper's parents came up to me at the end of camp and asked it I taught piano lessons because she'd like her daughters to start learning piano. I told her that I had taught in both North Carolina and Virginia when I lived in each of these places, but I'd have to come to her house if she wanted lessons; I lived in the dorm and practiced at the conservatory and we weren't allowed to use the practice rooms to teach private students. She was thrilled to have a teacher come to her house, and by the end of the week, two of her neighbors had already called me wanting lessons at their homes for their children. By the time I taught my first lessons to the girls I had in camp, I had 8 students scheduled. Within 6 months, I had 15 students and a waiting list. When I graduated from the conservatory in Cleveland, I thought to myself "I've already got a business up and running! Why not stay here and build it?" I've been teaching full-time ever since. I couldn't ask for a better career.
What is most important to you? Time. It is precious and can't be saved up - once it's gone, it's gone. Spending time with the people I love - my family and friends - is one of my favorite ways to spend time. One of the perks of owning my own business is that I can arrange my schedule to take time off to see family and friends (I love being independent and creating my own work schedule). I also think it is very important to continue life-long learning, refining one's skills and developing new skills. I was in my 30's when I started taking Tae Kwon Do lessons, and I was not athletically gifted in the least. I used to dread gym class in middle school and high school - now I run 5Ks and go to Tae Kwon Do competitions. I also think that it is extremely important to take care of one's body - it is the finest gift that our Creator has given to us. I started taking yoga classes a year ago to help improve my mental and physical awareness at the piano and in Tae Kwon Do and it has helped immensely.
Who inspires you? I am always inspired by the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach. These compositions transcend mere mortal talent and give us glimpses into the Divine. I can't listen to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without experiencing such joy that it makes me want to weep. Mozart's piano concerti show us the beauty of refinement and elegance while breaking our hearts with their harmonic simplicity. Bach's fugues are evidence that there is a God - no human could come up with such masterful complexity on his/her own.
Info about your lecture series:
I have been developing a lecture on the influence my Tae Kwon Do study has had on my piano playing and teaching. Tae Kwon Do and piano are both performing arts and must be practiced often for improvement and increased understanding. I realized that I was receiving the same corrections in Tae Kwon Do ("relax your shoulders," "don't hold your breath," "let the movements flow") that I was getting in my piano lessons. By focusing on these corrections in one discipline, I improved in both. These disciplines both rely on an understanding of body mechanics and physics to reach one's highest potential. They both also rely on discipline, inner calm, and a structured approach to learning. Even learning how to break boards properly has a direct correlation to playing with dynamic range on the piano. I gave this lecture at a piano conference last fall, and I am continuing to develop it further for upcoming projects.
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