Meet the Opus
Instructor of Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Drums, Trumpet, Songwriting
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching lessons since November 2022 with Opus, however I have taught lessons on and off since 2017.
Which Opus Music Academy locations do you work? Do you have your own studio? If so, where is it located? Do you offer in-home lessons?
I currently work at the Plymouth location, but am willing to travel for lessons if needed/desired. I do have a home studio, but it is not quite lesson friendly yet. In the next few months I am planning to “upgrade” my space and try to find somewhere with a little more space. In-home lessons are certainly a future possibility.
What do you teach? Anything else you teach?
I currently teach trumpet, guitar, bass guitar, drums, and ukulele. I would also be willing to teach beginner/intermediate music theory and music production/recording at some point. I am also personally learning both the clarinet and saxophone, with hopes to soon be able to teach those instruments as well.
What is your studio story? How did you get to where you are now?
I started playing trumpet in middle school, and after falling in love with it immediately, I learned many instruments on my own accord. By the time high school rolled around, I knew I wanted to pursue some sort of career with music. I went to college at Minnesota State University, Mankato and received a songwriting degree. Now I teach music, produce music, and write/record many original songs in my free time.
What is one thing you think you do really well as a teacher?
I think I do well with adapting to the students’ needs. Every musician is completely different, including how and when they learn. Not every student grasps the same ideas, or in the same way. I believe that I can pick up on what way of teaching a certain instrument/idea will fit the student best, and then I try to implement that.
What is one thing you really struggle with as a teacher?
I struggle with knowing when to slow down. As someone who is so passionate about music, my brain and my mouth can start running at 100 mph which can be very overwhelming for students who are trying to learn something new/challenging. I often catch myself firing off too many ideas at once, and have to recenter myself and focus only on one or two things at a time, rather than 20.
What do you do to retain your students?
I think the way I retain students is influenced how I treat them. I want to be able to connect with every one of my students in a way that makes them feel like they belong, and that they aren’t just some person learning music. In a time where the world has been in a pandemic mindset, human connection is the most valuable asset.
Share a funny student story:
My first ever lesson with Opus was with a guitar player who had been playing guitar longer than I had been alive. He had been playing almost 30 years, while I was 22 years of age, and I definitely was not playing guitar at age 2 or 3. I ended up learning more from him in that lesson than he probably learned from me.
What is your niche? What sets you apart from other teachers?
My niche is that I have a wide range of musical instruments I specialize in, and I am someone who loves to make connections through music. My goal is for everyone I teach to come away with something that they can apply to not only music, but to life.
What is your favorite band, artist, or composer? Why?
This is always a tough question, plus the answer changes every so often. However, currently my favorite bands(can’t pick one so I’ll give three) are Gorillaz, The story so far, and Dance Gavin Dance.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
One surprise would be that I have written a full length novel, and plan on finishing the series within the next year or so.
Let’s say you’re having coffee with a brand-new teacher. What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started.?
It’s okay to make mistakes, even as a teacher. The students know deep down that you are too a human being who is not always perfect. I think showing that it’s okay to make mistakes allows the students to be more comfortable within themselves and their playing, allowing for more growth and a build in confidence.
Let’s say you’re visiting with a teacher who is feeling burned out. What advice would you give to them to give life to their studio?
Every day is a new day and even after a bad one, it can always get better. Sometimes the best way to get out of a rut is to take a step back, and look at what could be switched up.
We’ve all had that one student or parent that drives us crazy. What do you do with that student or family?
Patience is a virtue. Many times just simply hearing the parent/student out and allowing them to get their feelings out will help to a faster resolution of issues/conflict. By staying calm, it will show the student/parent that you respect them and that you care. Getting too heated is never a good thing.
What is your craziest idea? What is something you would do if money, time, and space weren’t an issue?
I would buy an abandoned warehouse, install a kitchen, bathroom, etc. And make a huge music studio space to rent out to people to use and teach lessons in. I would live there full time to manage it, and allow for extended hours. I would also have a few other employees to help out with the workload.
If you weren’t a music instructor, what else would you do with your life?
I would be a full time author. I have a huge love for creating and writing stories and I can only picture myself being creative in some way, shape, or form.
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