As a student, I always saturated myself with as many courses as I could handle beyond the required credits. These included music composition, jazz studies, visual arts, literary arts, screenwriting, film, advanced music theory, etc. An ambient high-proficiency performance-training regimen was also omnipresent. Time was never, ever taken for granted.
As I absorbed knowledge and skill, new and unique goals became tangible. "Extra" academic exposure to history, geography, literature, and languages, through the arts, spanned all of space and time. I saw, found, and experienced their direct relationship with the violin.
Full artistic immersion over that decade in university built more than a violinist— it built an artist. My goals strive beyond performance alone, and my passion is doing what my mentors did for me. That passion is to evermore guide violinists and composers of today to become the dynamic, far-reaching, culture-penetrating artists tomorrow needs.
When asked in a televised PBS interview to "describe the best teacher in three words,” I said “still a student.” I stand by this one-hundred percent. My mentors all led by example, allowing students to see their learning process in real time. I observed that they never stopped learning. I observed that they also remained humble enough to learn from anyone, anytime, anywhere.
To quote cellist Yo-Yo Ma "Don't be too proud." As long as that passionate student lives in me, my best years of performance, lectures, and composition remain ahead of me.
From my mentors, I learned about insatiable persistence to improve, and adopted their uncompromising integrity in the professional world. This model of mentorship formed the motto of my own teaching philosophy— “Teach by example.”