Pedagogical Philosophy My twenty years of teaching experience include one-on-one instruction in the public schools, at the university level, and of all ages in community music schools and in my home. I have also taught public masterclasses, groups lessons, large group seminars, and workshops. In each of these venues, I have strived to encourage not only technical and musical mastery over the instrument, but critical thinking and application skills, as well. I wish to foster a greater love for music and flute-playing specifically, and in every class or lesson I teach, I hope students can leave with another piece of knowledge that they can use repeatedly, in multiple forms as musicians.

An important key to my teaching and mentoring style is creating a nurturing yet stimulating environment in which students are encouraged to take risks and try new things in their lessons. I strive to maintain a relationship with my students in which they are inspired to work hard but feel comfortable enough in lessons to know that they can experiment with new ideas and take the risk of making mistakes at first in the quest to improve their playing. It is crucial that they develop their own style and artistic voice, which can only be done by synthesizing ideas and applying the skills they develop in new and creative ways.

It is also very important to me that my students develop a collegial sense of community which will sustain them beyond school and into the professional world. Rather than feeling a sense of competitiveness with one another, students should support each other’s projects as music students and find positive ways to learn from each other and inspire each other. I encourage my students to focus on their own development and needs, rather than getting tangled in the negative distraction of worrying about what someone else is doing in their lessons. I have watched my current students grow together in the studio and have found their strong, supportive friendships extremely gratifying to witness.

In short, my students will work together as colleagues in masterclass and ensembles. They will learn to be teachers because we will discuss pedagogical techniques as we explore them, and because I will always encourage them to be thinking musicians, they will learn more and more how to diagnose for themselves as I coach and encourage them through their education. They will learn how to perform in a variety of situations because they will have a variety of opportunities to perform in those different venues: orchestral, solo, chamber. While they are a part of my studio, they will learn a broad spectrum of the literature. It is imperative that they spend time learning the orchestral excerpts, playing in chamber groups, and of course, working through the solo repertoire so that they can get a taste of each in order to make informed decisions about what they will do with their careers.

I make no assumptions that one kind of career is better than the next, and they must decide for themselves what they will do. I can share with them the whole of my experience and speak very realistically about what it takes to succeed in certain fields, what techniques are more useful, how to approach specific situations, etc. I devise exercises and assign literature to help students realize their potential in being able to successfully complete those tasks at a level commensurate with their peers across the country. And in everything I teach, my goal is to make myself, as the teacher, obsolete. Successful musicians must eventually learn how to teach themselves by making connections and applying what they learn to every situation.

 

Schedule an in-person or Skpe lesson: email Dr. Riner at  nicole.riner@gmail.com.