Because students retain only what they understand, not what they learn by rote, the Leap Into Music series are hands-on, tactile experiences at the piano.
Students create their own music and decode the music they learn. Students are taught to be “musical detectives,” building a strong and lasting familiarity with all elements of music.
Elizabeth’s Teaching Philosophy
My creative experience as a dancer, artist, composer and professional jazz pianist has taught me successful techniques in teaching music. To begin, it must focus on creativity and creative play. Teaching through fun and games engages the student and makes the experience of practice light hearted. This keeps their efforts sustainable and goals within reach.
It is my belief that musical education should foster self-expression as an essential element of community. By creating music and playing for others, the students learn to share their talents for others to enjoy. They learn that playing for others offers additional delight in their creation of music. It is the sharing that brings further joy fueling our effort to practice and play music.
Playing an instrument is a physical discipline as well as a mental one. In many ways, it can even be viewed as a physical sport. Teaching with the underlying principles of dance, students learn the value of playing with embodied, fluid, and physical movement. Most children by nature learn through movement and emphasizing this supports their natural learning styles.
The sense of accomplishment found in creating music fosters a deep sense of self worth, authenticity and confidence that expands to all other aspects of student’s lives. Through encouraging my students to feel the joy of making music, they can then find the real happiness of seeing themselves more clearly and enjoying what they see while building self confidence.
In essence my teaching philosophy centers on valuing uniqueness and the individual voice in community and solidarity with others.
About Elizabeth Jennings
I am a composer, pianist, and instructor.
- Cornish College of the Arts, Jazz Piano and Composition
- Oberlin Conservatory
- Sarah Lawrence College, B.A.
- University of Utah, Composition
- Phillips Academy, Andover