In September of 2001, I quit my day job and started teaching music lessons. Over the past 23 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of students ages 5 to 75 on piano, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass, and banjo. I often say that I have the best job in the world because I love helping people learn to practice and to play!

I provide music lessons online and in McMinnville, Oregon year round. I have a waiting list, but openings come up randomly, so please contact me for current availability and to get on my list.

teaching philosophy

Music is an integral part of life, and one of the only truly universal languages. Music can help us deepen our humanity and connect with others. Love and appreciation of music can be enhanced by a good learning experience, and the discipline and skills learned from studying music can help students immeasurably in other areas of life.

I work with students of all ages. I tend to have more openings for later elementary school children, teens, and adult students at all experience levels.

Students have many learning styles and a diversity of music tastes, so I use a variety of method books (although I do have some favorites). I focus on learning to read music or tablature from the start as I believe that a solid foundation of reading is critical for future learning. I also work extensively with students on practice techniques. In addition to any curriculum materials, I encourage students to share any songs, artists, composers, etc that they are interested in, and we can focus on those as well.

As a teacher, my goal is to nurture as well as instruct. I balance constructive critiques with praise for each student’s effort and progress, and I try to make the lessons enjoyable. Students usually leave a lesson more energized than when they arrived!

Students are expected to practice between lessons. A good goal for most students taking weekly lessons is about 30 minutes of practice at least 4 days per week. Beginning students can start with shorter time periods, and work up gradually to longer sessions.

I usually hold a recital every spring so students can gain performance experience. To prepare, I work with students on memorizing and performance skills. Adult students are not required to perform, but are invited to do so if they choose, and are always welcome to attend. I also hope to hold some small group master classes for adult students soon.

background & experience

I’ve been a singer since before I could walk, as my Colombian grandmother recalled from visits when I was tiny. Early on I showed an interest in the piano, so my parents found me a teacher at age 6, despite her dismay about my small hands! By 11 years old, I was receiving awards and performing at events around Los Angeles. I first began teaching while still in high school, substituting for my piano teacher when she had to travel. I studied piano accompaniment for three years in the Bachelor of Music program at UC Santa Barbara, eventually earning a BA in Anthropology, but completing the equivalent of a music minor. I also earned an MA in Anthropology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.

Although my professional interests focused more on agriculture and environmental concerns for many years, I continued studying music, learning guitar independently, and from other musicians. I returned to teaching in late 2001, with private in-home lessons in Forest Grove and Hillsboro, Oregon, and for many years at MIR Music in Hillsboro. I’ve been teaching in Yamhill county for over 15 years.

In 2005 I returned to performing in a Portland country ragtime blues band, and also began learning mandolin. From 2009 to 2013, I performed on guitar, vocals and mandolin with Top Hands, a country-rock cover band. My first solo album of original songs was recorded in McMinnville in 2012, and I’ve recorded several albums since, and performed extensively between 2014 and 2020. During the pandemic, I learned music production skills, and recorded two songs for short films. I also recently finished writing a full length musical, and am just starting to workshop it.


instruments & instruction areas

Piano – I teach all levels, from beginning to advanced. Piano is a wonderful foundational instrument for all music students because of the ease of playing, and its usefulness in learning music theory. All piano students must have daily access to a piano or good keyboard for practice.

Guitar – I offer lessons for beginning to intermediate guitarists. Topics include basic tab and/or note reading, chords, strum patterns, finger-picking, rhythm, and music theory for guitarists. The focus is on rock, folk, country and pop music.

Ukulele – I offer beginning lessons, focusing on note and/or tab reading, playing melodies, strumming chords, etc.

I also offer lessons on music theory (scales, chords, Nashville Numbering, etc.), song writing, and performance skills.

workshops, group classes, and more

In addition to private music lessons, I’m available to teach classes, workshops, etc on various topics including performance skills, memorization, song writing, and more. Please contact me if you are interested.

In April 2024 I’ll be giving a workshop at Terroir Creative Writing Festival in Newberg, Oregon on Songwriting. More details and ticket information can be found here.

Please email me or contact me by phone at 971 237 7576.

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