My daughter Sophia gleefully unpacks her cello every day to work on the pieces she is learning with Mary. Anyone who can draw a child joyfully into classical music is doing something right!
— Suzanna Jemsby, Atlanta, GA

Teaching Philosophy

The study of music is an interdisciplinary practice that can enhance almost any area of life. Music is a way to express yourself emotionally and artistically. Playing an instrument develops motor skills. Practicing teaches goal setting and self efficacy. Performing with a chamber ensemble promotes collaboration and teamwork. Even (or perhaps especially) if you aren’t planning on pursuing music as a career, it can be an enriching experience.

I make sure that my students have a strong technical foundation by breaking the physical aspects of playing into manageable parts. However, the best teachers I’ve had have taught me music, not just technique. While learning an instrument, it’s easy to focus only on perfect posture, intonation, and rhythm. Those things are important, but there's no reason a student must sacrifice what is paramount: expression, musical interpretation, and the emotion of music. Any student, at any level, is capable of playing musically. In lessons, I often ask my students what story or feeling they think is being expressed in the music, and we decide together how to best unite their own personal experience with the composer's intention. We then work to use the student's technical command in service of their artistic expression.

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Each week, my students work on a variety of pieces and exercises which usually include scales, études, a solo, and ensemble pieces. I select music based on a student's age and experience level, and make adjustments to address any technical issues and personal preferences. (Although my students do know that sometimes you have to work on a piece that may not be your favorite!) We learn music from the standard classical repertoire as well as folk songs, fiddle tunes, musical theater standards, and even popular hits from the radio.

I teach all ages and levels from very young beginners to returning adult students. My studio is located in Decatur. If you want to learn more about the way I teach, check out my blog. If you are interested in lessons, please contact me today!

Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.
— Shinichi Suzuki