Teaching Philosophy

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.  –Joseph Chilton Pearce

I deeply believe that each child has an innate compass that will regulate and guide their progress in almost any endeavor.  If there is something they are resisting, I try to work with it rather than against it.  I believe in being 100% non-shaming.  Sometimes this means my students will progress more slowly than other students, but I deeply believe in growth-oriented learning, and everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way, and I love to highlight strengths and progress so a student can feel good about what they are accomplishing! (rather than be negatively focused on how they compare to other’s progress or learning styles)  I believe many students quit piano when they aren’t feeling good at it – I try to find creative ways to adapt to their strengths so we discover what they ARE good at, while slowly helping them get better in their areas of weakness.  Sometimes this means being honest and letting them know that their current amount of practice won’t lead them to be able to play like I can play (as I WAS pushed as a kid – which was sometimes traumatic for me), however I’ve discovered many families are fine with that!  They don’t necessarily want their child to be a concert pianist or go to a conservatory like I did, but perhaps they want their child to develop that incredible connection between right and left brained thinking that reading/playing sheet music provides!  I will help them make consistent progress at their own pace, and I do not worry about how a student reflects on me as a teacher.  I am happy to teach children with learning disabilities or unique learning styles (ADHD or needing less structure or a more creative approach, perhaps for emotional reasons), or ones who would like to just learn rock/pop piano (I sneak lots of music theory into my approach with this – so they end up quite smart in music, secretly 🙂

Overall I believe deeply in my approach to piano lessons – not as a way to fast track children to competitions perhaps, which is also valid and I recommend it for serious and structured kids (and I am able to teach this way if requested), but as a way to develop skills and a love of music that will stay with them for a lifetime.  My #1 goal is for piano to feel like it is something THEY own, not something they have to do FOR me.  Of course there will be more serious weeks, and some dragging of feet, as learning any language (which music is!) can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor.  But overall, I like to be a positive, joyful, enthusiastic addition to each student’s life.  I host fun, yearly recitals, where the goal is just to share music with each other.  In addition I encourage performing in school talent shows or open mics.  If this sounds like a good fit for your family and you live in the Grand Haven, Spring Lake, or Norton Shores area, please contact me at  jessicafogle AT hotmail.com …please use @ symbol, it’s separated here to avoid spam 🙂 Thanks!

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