Philosophy of Teaching

Dr. Allen’s Philosophy of Teaching:

My goal is to support the development of excellent musicians and to educate students about the essential skills that they will need to be successful in all their endeavors. These skills include the what, the why, and the how. I teach students to be able to make meaningful and relevant connections between activities, topics, fact, ideas, and courses. By doing so, my goal is to help my students develop an understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

I believe that each student comes with a unique set of skills and needs. While there is a common knowledge base and skill set that all students need to learn, the same approach will not necessarily get all students to the desired goal. It is my duty to meet a student where he/she is and devise a plan that will take that student to where he/she needs and wants to be.

I believe that as a teacher, I am also a student. Keeping current on relevant research in my area and on pedagogical practices best serves my students and ensures that my teaching is effective, relevant, and timely.

As a teacher, I must provide a safe environment for intellectual and musical exploration and development. I must provide honest assessments and feedback. I must encourage, nurture, and promote learning by all appropriate means and avoid any which would limit student learning and growth.  I must combine all corrections and negative feedback with methods and steps that will help students to improve.

I believe that good teaching goes beyond the lesson. Education is a process through which one learns about the world, culture, society and self, and during which one makes meaningful connections among these areas. I encourage students to explore their own interests and paths while fulfilling the educational requirements set forth for them. For artists, one’s art is an integral part of life and the life experience becomes part of the art.

I believe the well-trained person can do what he/she was trained to do, but the well-educated person has the potential to do anything. Education must provide the skills for continued learning beyond the end of formal education. Discovery is an important part of learning. I teach to develop a mindset that will lead to independent thinking and discovery so that the student will need to not always be given what he/she wants and needs to know, but rather he/she will have the ability to find and acquire it on his/her own.