In 1984 I was a smart, talented, unhappy teenager.

I enjoyed doing the “artsy” things:  acting, playing the piano, drawing.  I was happy reading the books I wanted to read.  But school doesn't let you do that.

Instead I found myself struggling with math classes, falling asleep while trying to read long books, and generally feeling like something was wrong.

I knew I was smart.  But somehow that didn't translate into academic success.  I thought I was letting my family down, but I didn't know what to do about it.

Music became my foundation for learning successes.

I'd always played the piano since I was six, but I never took it seriously.  In my senior year of high school I auditioned for choir.  I got in, and something about that style of music making changed the way I thought about myself as a learner.

I was remembering things.  I was confident.  I was happy.

For me, music suddenly became the glue that held everything together.  Trouble learning history?  Connect it with music history.  Trouble learning math?  Connect it with music theory and acoustics.  Trouble learning languages?  We sing in other languages!

Finding out how to apply my strengths to my weaknesses was the beginning of the change I needed to see in myself.

Your anchor doesn't have to be music.  It could be anything, from writing to sports to public speaking.  The point is to find what ties things together for you and to move out from there.

I had found my strength, but still needed to shore up my weaknesses.

While music became my best friend, I still had focus problems.  Math remained a nightmare, and I was afraid of language study and science.  I found myself asking, “Why are they hard for me, and what can I do about it?”

After an injury to my hands, I took lessons in a method developed by a scientist named Moshe Feldenkrais which teaches us to learn with our whole selves by integrating our body and mind. In the Method, I saw possibilities.  Our difficulties are connected to a larger problem with the way we think about and move our bodies.

I spent four years certifying in the Feldenkrais Method, and it became my primary way of working with people.  I wrote papers on math instruction and language instruction based on the ideas I'd discovered.  My world changed and I began contemplating how I might help other people overcome their learning difficulties.

Now that I could learn, it was time to become a teacher.

In 2006 I completed a degree in Music Education and began an 11-year journey as a public school teacher.  I worked with elementary and middle-school students as a choral director, served on Autism teams, and tutored math and reading students.  I got very good at understanding the practical skills of teaching:  sequencing, scaffolding, patience.  

I left public education to start my own piano studio, and I took these skills into the studio.  Because I had been a classroom teacher, I had an advantage over a lot of other piano teachers.  I found it easy to work with pianists with a range of difficulties from ADHD to ASD, and I noticed that their parents seemed appreciative, relieved and even surprised at their successes.

The best thing I ever did was to start listening to my own instruction, and do what I told others to do!

I came full circle.  When I started taking my own advice, I got more efficient in my own practicing, started hitting more bulls-eyes in my performances, and got more calls!

Now I speak in public about my journey of learning and self-awareness, sharing my insights for anyone that needs help.  I also perform, present my music and books, and produce an interview show.  I am the person I dreamed I could be.

What could you do if someone did that for you?

The answer is:  Anything you want!

It helps to have a friend in your corner.  You need a mirror to see your own face, and if the process is fun, you'll enjoy what you find out.  People hire me because they know as a result they will become more confident and more successful learners, and people!