Sarah's Educational Philosophy

As an arts educator, I've had the privilege of working with all age groups, but my philosophy remains the same:

  1. Culture is key

  2. Maintain to retain

  3. Truth transcends performance

I do not simply teach. Rather, I encourage young artists to find their individual, creative voices within a joyful, ambitious, and authentic environment to ultimately create a thriving culture of artistic excellence. I find that students are most successful when they are joyfully engaged in all elements of their learning, are ambitiously challenged with repertoire, and are vulnerably authentic and present, both in performance and within their artistic community. Furthermore, I strive to build a culture that promotes empathy and diversity by celebrating each student’s unique qualities, by exposing students to a wide variety of cultures, composers, genres, and history in repertoire, and by offering a multitude of performance and networking experiences. I believe this artistic culture will impart the ability to form and sustain positive relationships, which will be an invaluable life skill regardless of the career path the student chooses.

In order to retain quality performance skills long term, artists must learn to balance and maintain mental, physical, and vocal health. To me, mindset is the most important of these, and I teach all students to be present and to center themselves before singing a single note. This practice includes meditation, focused breathing, and mindfulness exercises. Additionally, repertoire is never sung until the circumstance of the piece has been mentally analyzed, visualized, and read through like a script. For vocal health, I educate students about their vocal mechanism and demonstrate vocal and physical concepts first hand. Each student learns techniques to warm-up the voice, to practice vocalizes for agility, articulation, intonation, overall vocal quality, and tone, and also learns tools to utilize while practicing repertoire to ensure consistent vocal efficiency and quality throughout their songs. Moreover, I impress the importance of taking care of oneself by obtaining the appropriate amount of rest, eating well, preventing illness, and being physically active and fit for ideal performance agility and overall physical health. When maintained regularly, a singer has the capability to retain their performance abilities for life.

The most rewarding element to my method of education involves encouraging students to be their most vulnerable, genuine selves through the expression of song. Through guided song analysis and self reflection, students create personal ties to circumstance, sincere communication to whom they are singing, and authentic, physical representation of their true, present feelings. The artist’s visceral connection to the circumstance manifests true emotions in performance, and thus, allows their audience a raw, intimate, and potentially moving experience as well. In my opinion, it is this truthful expression that transcends ordinary performance.

Ultimately, my goal is to develop each artist into an authentic and expressive individual who will continue to pursue artistic and personal growth through their own self-guidance long after they’ve ended their learning journey with me.

"The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued."

-Ken Robinson