With every term of my performance study at the University of Michigan, I also took multiple courses beyond the required credits— music composition, jazz studies, visual arts, and literary arts comprising most of them. I never took a summer "off". Those courses took place alongside the high-proficiency training demanded by my performance curriculum.
For 10 years, while incessantly absorbing extra knowledge and skills, I saw new and unique artistic goals become tangible. Those extracurriculars in music and the arts granted me development far beyond performance alone. My exposure to history, geography, literature, and languages through the arts spanned all observable space and time. I was allowed to see, find, and experience their direct relevancy and impact upon the violin.
My full immersion over that decade as a student in higher education built more than a violinist— it built a well-rounded artist. As such, my goal strives beyond performance alone. My passion has always been to do what all of my inspiring teachers had done for me. I want to be a foundation for today’s aspiring violin talents to become the dynamic, far-reaching, culture-penetrating artists of tomorrow.
When asked in a televised interview by PBS to "describe the best teacher in three words" I replied, “still a student.” I stand by this absolutely. My teachers all led by example, allowing students to see their process in real time. I observed that they never stopped learning, and remained humble enough to learn from anyone, anywhere. To quote cellist Yo-Yo Ma as he learned jazz in a live workshop with Wynton Marsalis, "Don't be too proud." My best and most-fulfilling years of performance, informance, and composition are still ahead of me.
I witnessed all of my teacher's insatiable persistence to improve, and adopted the uncompromising integrity they maintained in the professional world. This model of mentorship formed my pedagogical motto, and is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy— “teach by example.”