Once upon a time,
I was the little girl who listened to music for hours on end. I kept a collection of cassette tapes on my dresser: a different soundtrack for every day. I was the composer writing out somewhat original lyrics and chords in construction paper-backed songbooks I made myself.
I was the virtuoso pianist on the back of the church pew during church services.
I was the lead musician on the piano at home during my mom's devotional time,
filling the house with quite lovely — what I called — altar music.
Music consumed every part of childhood me.
In those days, I dreamed of the day my love for music would become not only my career, but also the talent and gift that I used in ministry to serve the Kingdom of God.
When I started playing the piano in church at age twelve,
it felt like the beginning of all those childhood dreams coming true.
It was an unconventional journey, the transition of a pre-teen taking classical piano lessons into playing for church. It had been what my heart longed for since forever, but the dream and reality were two very different things. That time wasn't easy for me.
But it was something I was passionate about — something I believed in.
And so I did everything I could to become skilled in playing music for church.
My dad was pastoring in a little town in West Texas and we happened to live right next to door to the church. I spent hours in that building: practicing, praying, practicing, praying. And while it wasn't easy being the teenager locked away for hours practicing, learning, and becoming, it was worth it. Those difficult, transitional days gave me the passion and flexibility for leading worship and teaching music that I now use everyday.
when it was finally time
to choose a career,
majoring in music seemed like the only logical option.
It was finally in college during music theory classes, the intense piano lessons, studio sessions, and rehearsals, that everything I had been learning from all my piano teachers and what I had taught myself came together. Everything that I'd worked so hard to achieve finally made sense.
The proverbial lightbulbs went off! I finally had the ah-ha! moments! Classical techniques, note reading, and playing by ear: I finally understood how it all worked together.
During my time as an undergrad student, I began teaching private piano lessons in my living room to make some extra cash. Teaching had never been something I had planned on doing, so when I discovered that I actually really loved teaching piano, it was quite a surprise!
But I loved it because it gave me the opportunity to be the teacher
I had always desired in my own life as a child and teenager.
I graduated from Kent State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and since that time I have performed as a solo musician and collaborative artist. I've been on staff at public schools: teaching K-3 general music, vocal coaching, accompanying, directing choirs, and leading sectionals.
After the transition from college student to professional, career musician, I felt a shift in my purpose. I still loved music, was still passionate about it, believed in it completely.
But I also desired to understand the role of music in its relationship to worship. I wanted to use my talents and love for music for purposes greater than my own self.
This led me to pursue a Master's degree in Christian Leadership & Worship Studies from Hope International University, where I graduated in 2013.
c. Present Day
i'm now in the third decade
of my life,
and while I've done a lot of things, seen a lot of places, experienced a lot of life, and played a lot of music in the process, it feels like this is really the beginning of it all — whatever all is:
teaching music, playing music, discovering worship renewal.
While my love for teaching piano was so unexpected way back in 2006, it seemed like I had found my purpose in sharing my love of music through teaching. So in 2016, I opened The Piano Studio, a private music school in Uniontown, Ohio. I teach my students there at my lovely studio on a weekly basis, employ a delightful team of teachers, and oversee the administrative details of the company.
As a musician, I'm involved in my local church, I'm a member of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus/Blossom Festival Chorus, I write music, plan workshops/seminars/concerts,
and play the piano at churches and church events across North America.
Most recently, I planned/organized/performed at The Justice Gala, a collaborative music event dedicated to raise awareness and funds for victims of human trafficking for Go International, a non-profit organization based out of Quito, Ecuador and spoke on "Developing Your Talents" at Esther Conference in Carthage, Mississippi.
Outside of my teaching and music career, I'm currently a doctoral student in worship renewal studies at The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Why worship studies? Why a doctorate in worship when my background is music?
Because while music has been all-consuming in most of my life, I want music to be the vehicle by which I worship Christ. Because I want my life to be all-consumed with Christ and the worship of him rather than consumed by music in and of itself. Because I believe that the church is in desperate need of worship renewal: not because our music isn't good enough, not because we need new songs, not because we should be singing old hymns. But because it has everything to do with recovering the story of God in our worship; reclaiming biblical truths in our worship.
And that's where the purpose of this website comes in: I have a passion for connecting with and creating a community of like-minded Christians. Millennials desperately need worship renewal in their lives and churches: we need worship that goes beyond Sunday morning church services. We need our lives to be consumed not with music, careers, and social media, but with Jesus and the worship of him.