The purest way to communicate the human condition is through the beauty of music - Edward W. Hardy*
My teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that music is a universal language that connects cultures, retells our human history, and is the most prominent display of our imagination. Over the past decade, I've held violin teaching/ performing residencies and, as a visiting artist, gave masterclasses and lectures at numerous music programs and universities spanning New York City to Los Angeles, California. I have ardently cultivated a learning environment that fosters inclusivity, nurturing the seeds of creativity, critical analysis, and innovation.
This pedagogical journey has concurrently strengthened my leadership and communication skills, refining them to their utmost proficiency. Through inspirational stories, representation, and self-reflection, my students develop a passion for music while nurturing their artistic, technical, and personal development.
Although I am a violin teacher and graduate instructor, I view these positions as that of a mentor. Students and I create a nurturing and empowering learning atmosphere that fosters a sense of worth, active listening, and motivation while making space to express their abilities, difficulties, and ambitions. While the structure of my teaching conforms to traditional methods (e.g., individual instruction, ensemble rehearsals, mock/ college auditions, college recitals), I enjoy integrating music technology and multimedia resources to have relevancy to our current times. This personalized approach allows me to tailor my teaching methods and repertoire selections to each student's unique needs and goals.
Central to my teaching is the cultivation of a solid technical foundation. Beginning in our first lesson, I emphasize proper posture, bowing technique, intonation, and tone production. These fundamental aspects are critical to equip my students with the technical skills necessary for expressive and confident violin playing. I also integrate music theory, sight-reading, and ear training into my lessons to foster a well-rounded understanding of music.
In the words of the great violinist Jascha Heifetz, the discipline of practice every day is essential. Aiming for technical proficiency, musicality, and expression are all equally vital. In my teaching, I embrace a holistic approach that exceeds the acquisition of displaying technical virtuosity and encourage my students to explore the artistic and emotional aspects of music, which in return help them develop unique interpretive ideas and a musical voice. Students should have a space for encouragement, support, and motivation while acquiring knowledge of diverse repertoire, including classical masterpieces, contemporary works, and music from various cultures (e.g., spirituals, folk music, jazz, tangos, and pop music). By including different musical genres in our lessons, I broaden their musical horizons and nurture their versatility as musicians. And through discussions, listening exercises, acting exercises, and guided performances, I strive to cultivate a deep appreciation for stage presence, phrasing, dynamics, and musical nuances - enabling my students to bring their performances to life and connect with audiences on a profound level.
Just as music bridges cultures, I believe students should participate in chamber music groups, orchestras, and collaborative projects, as these foster teamwork, communication, and a sense of musical community. As a result, students acquire invaluable opportunities for expedited growth as musicians. For validation, I encourage my students to embrace challenges, persevere through setbacks, and celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small. By nurturing a positive and resilient attitude, I aim to empower them to become independent learners and confident performers on and off the stage.
As an active performing artist who leads by example, my teaching philosophy revolves around a supportive and empowering learning environment that builds trust, confidence and a new chapter in my student's musical journey. As I believe there is always more to learn, my students and I discover the transformative power and beauty that is music.
*D.A. Doctoral Candidate, Violin Performance, University of Northern Colorado.
Edward W. Hardy - Teaching Philosophy | July 1, 2023
Music Haven CT, February 2024
(Delivered an engaging guest speaker video session for music students at Connecticut's Music Haven music school, emphasizing inspiration, motivation, and the sharing of personal experiences gained throughout my career. Explored key insights and lessons learned, fostering a dynamic discussion that aimed to inspire and guide aspiring musicians on their educational and career journeys. Recording is available on Music Haven's Facebook page.)
Guest Lecture/ Performance
Manhattan School of Music, July 2023
(Representing the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), gave a guest lecture for summer students attending the Manhattan School of Music (MSM). Areas of focus: composition, improvisation, career development, with performances of my original solo violin works, moderated by MSM composition faculty Derek Cooper.)
Guest Lecture/ Masterclass/ Performance
El Sistema Colorado, April 2023
(Over a two-week period, discussed various topics within the music industry including career opportunities, fundamentals of orchestral and chamber music playing, and performing multiple genres and styles of music.)
Guest Lecture/ Performance
Howard University, February 2023
(Discussed various topics including the concept of Our Song, Our Story, music by African Americans, the lineage from Howard, and performed with Damien Sneed, Jacqueline Echols, and the Griot String Quartet.)
University of Northern Colorado, September 2022 – May 2023
(Instructor of record under HLC guidelines without the need for supervision – not supervisor for teaching assistants. Instructor for undergraduate applied music course - private lessons.)
University of Texas, July 2022
(Taught about melodic improvisation in different genres and styles of music alongside jazz legend Andre Hayward and composer Graham Reynolds. Presented by Austin Chamber Music Festival.)
University of Northern Colorado, November 2021
(Classical to Pop Improvisation - taught students of the virtual Western States Honor Orchestra Festival, and virtual attendees, to develop deeper improvisational skills, ranging from classical cadenzas to creating their own groove in pop music. I concluded with a performance of my original composition, Evolution – Inspired by the Evolution of Black Music.” Recording is available on the University of Northern Colorado website & YouTube.)
Graduate Teaching Assistant
University of Northern Colorado, September 2021 – May 2024
(Duties include being an instructor of record in undergraduate violin performance courses, substitute violin instructor for weekly studio performance classes consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, coordinate and schedule lesson string department jury performances, lead orchestra and orchestral repertoire sectionals.)
Harmony-Projects (LA), July – August 2021
(Taught a six-session course, two hours each, on “Becoming an Artist” which includes the topics of diversity & inclusion in Classical Music along with improvisation, composition, acting for musicians, College Prep and music career explorations. Violin, viola, and cello students ranged from elementary school to high school.)
Gateways Music Festival, September – November 2020
(Gave week-long, virtual masterclasses to "ROCmusic" and "Strings for Success" music programs, video engineer for four performance videos, lead the Traveling Through Time String Quartet and was a conversation participant in the festival’s pre-talk discussion.)
Guest Lecture/ Performance
University of Northern Colorado, October 2020
(Virtual guest lecture for Dr. Jubal Fulks’ violin studio. Topics included music industry, discussing the black classical musician experience, combining theater and music, arranging, composing and violin performance, with a performance of my original works.)
New Bridges Elementary PS 532, May 2020
(Virtual guest violin instructor for Alice Tsui's elementary and middle school music students. Solo performance and fundamentals of violin, viola and cello playing, Q&A.)
Guest Violin Instructor
Urban Assembly School, March 2020
(Guest violin instructor for T'keyah Robinson's Urban Assembly School for Applied Math & Science, New York. Same duties as Masterclass, New Bridges Elementary PS 532.)
Four Strings Academy, July 2019
(Two-week teaching residency at the Four String Academy in Arlington, MA. Taught older high school students preparing for college auditions. Private lessons, chamber music lessons, scales/ theory classes, orchestra sectionals.)
Grand Canyon Music Festival, August 2015
(Guest viola instructor, alongside the Sweet Plantain String Quartet, for the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Program (NACAP) students a part of the Grand Canyon Music Festival and performed new compositions by NACAP students.)
Exploring the Arts, INC, June – August 2010
(Gave private violin lessons and chamber music lessons a part of the Tony Bennett Exploring the Arts, inc summer internship program at Talent Unlimited High School.)
American String Teachers Association (CO), March 2023
(Judged a total of fifty-nine high school and middle school orchestras/ ensembles for the Colorado Regional American String Teachers Association ASTA Large Group Orchestra Festival.)