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2019 Jazz Jam Sessions! - August 26 August 26, 2019 6:30 pm Last one of the summer!

Teacher Spotlight on Aubrey Faith-Slaker, piano


Interview by Erin Cano, violin


Aubrey joined MIC in 2014 as a Suzuki piano teacher.

What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

I was raised as a Suzuki student. Even though I studied traditional pedagogy in college and graduate school and taught using those methods, I was always a Suzuki teacher at heart. I used many of the techniques that felt natural to me from my own experience.


Which of your teachers inspired you the most? 

I was lucky to have had a wide variety of piano teachers. One of my teachers pushed me very hard, another could understand a problem from the inside out, and one knew how to motivate, provide effective assignments, and teach the whole person. It was this broad array of different styles that came together to be my best teacher.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

I feel like there is supposed to be a right answer to this. Thank goodness, though, it is always changing. I haven't started someone in Book 5 in a while, so it'll be exciting to get back into that soon! I miss those pieces.


If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a student?

Hiding a Nancy Drew mystery book in the piano bench while keeping one eye on the front room window so I could go back to practicing when my mom drove up was NOT effective practicing.


Do you have any pets?

I have a dog named Curry who is twelve years old. She's half cattle dog, one-quarter Dalmatian and one- quarter pit bull.  She naps while I teach and judges me when I make mistakes. She's probably heard the pieces I'm working on more than anyone else, and she'll sit up and look at me askance if I run off the rails. Curry is a fan of Mozart and Schubert, but NOT a fan of Schumann. She'll leave the room if I'm practicing Schumann. I don't know what that's about! But it's cute.


You are currently working towards becoming a Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer. What would you like to share about this experience?

I’ve been taking Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer courses in Mexico and Peru during the past few years. I'm bilingual, and it is a good challenge for me to take courses and teach in Spanish. I've been trying to do my training mostly with Caroline Fraser, who lives in Peru.
There are parts of Mexico and Peru that have very little access to quality music education, so the teachers travel to festivals to educate themselves. In fact, I'm currently fundraising to get back to Peru this January to teach at their festival. I'm impressed with their tenacity and love being a part of that community.It has been really moving to encounter people from so many different countries who share many of the same values that I hold dear as a musician and a Suzuki teacher. It is comforting, and I love being able to share music with people from so many remote places.

Teacher Spotlight on Jeremiah Benham, guitar
Teacher Spotlight on Jeremiah Benham, guitar

What led you to become a Suzuki teacher? "I felt that learning and teaching are very similar processes......"