by Katherine 'KOOL KAT' Farnham
A BALANCED APPROACH
The first thing I do is work to learn about students, communicate and build trust. Communication is so important. I honor the timeless tradition of the Artist Teacher and sincerely enjoy helping others. I know how valuable this tradition has been in my own life and so I feel tickled to sometimes get to pass things on myself. I really care about people and it bothers me when I see others struggling with a problem or ignorance or years of suffering. I enjoy helping to relieve the burden and lighten the load.
Some teachers today have an educational/academic, private studio or commercial background. What can be more difficult is finding a teacher with experience in all or most of these areas. This approach is an integrative method that blends the best of Old School with effective New School techniques. I also utilize Alexander Technique, relaxation exercises, stretches, meditation as well as my own specially designed exercises with students depending upon their needs and preferences. I also teach basic character building, for instance that is important to earn your successes through diligent study and hard work.
Communication is a two-way street. I work hard at developing and maintaining good relationships with students. For best results, it's helpful for students to also take some time and communicate with me.
I was raised in a family of professional musicians and educators and my maternal grandfather was also a musician. My mother's own musical training dates directly back to legendary musician Franz Lizst. I studied privately with my own mother for over ten years, which puts me and my students into that lineage.
My mother was vocal coach and rehearsal pianist at The Sante Fe Opera Company and I learned many of her techniques. I've also taught at the university level and have had students of all ages improve their lives, health, academic performance, self-confidence and musical abilities from studying with me long term. The benefits are there if you are willing to put in a bit of work.
If you give this a chance, you're going to get so much out of this, probably much more than you think! The greatest part is that it won't stop when you've stopped your training. You should check in periodically if you're serious of course. But years from now you may find that a few hours you spent now planted seeds of growth that you're starting to see grow. You're going to improve your posture, self-confidence, communication skills, relationship skills, physical and mental health, problem-solving skills and more. Of course, if you practice you're going to improve your musical skills and your understanding of yourself and the world around you. You may discover tastes you didn't know you had. You may learn a lot about your own personality. It's an investment in yourself and in good principles.
If you are looking for a quick fix or are not willing to practice much, then I'm probably not the right teacher for you. I really can't help anybody who is dishonest, who wants shortcuts with everything or who doesn't want to pay or do the work. It just doesn't work that way. That's not fair to anybody and you're hurting yourself in the end. This is such an amazing tradition if you honor it and treat it well! I teach in a timeless tradition that has been passed down from hundreds of years from artists to their students. I consider myself a lifelong learner and I'm always growing myself but it's a sacred path both for me and for students. Students pick half their repertoire and I pick the other half. I expect students to behave appropriately. However, I also love to laugh and have fun and show people how learning doesn't have to always be such a struggle. If you are an honest person and are able to listen and do some work outside of lessons you will find this to be a very, very special journey.
I accept students of all levels, depending on availability. I teach mainly at university now, but enjoy adding a few private clients via Skype or in person. If you just want to try it out and interact on a casual level, that's fine. My advanced students accomplishments are impressive and speak for themselves (list available). Some of my students have become cherished people in my life after many years of study. I seek to share an unconditional, universal love with all students. Music was part of my everyday family life growing up. I was blessed in that regard and seek to share that with others. But really in the end, it's about loving music and how it can help people. I've learned so many things from my own teachers and mentors. I learned better music skills but also how to be a better human being. My goal is to pass that on - and to have a blast in the process.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
I had a young student once, a Korean-American girl in California that several people said was troubled and 'slow'. My stomach winced when I heard this label forced on her and I wondered if it was really true. She seemed sullen and often unhappy. After studying with me for several months, she suddenly displayed drastically improved grades in school. I smiled inside because I knew that I spent many hours sitting in a chair and listening closely to her chatter during the lessons. I took the time to figure out how her mind worked. I met her where she was and realized she was actually a bright student experiencing some stress. I validated her as a person and discovered that she asked excellent questions. Over time, her problem-solving skills improved, and she was more relaxed. I discovered that she had a razor-sharp wit that she seemed shy to express for fear others might not appreciate her humor.
I cannot take all the credit however, because she also took the time to practice and talk to me. She told me what she liked and what things bothered her. Once she shared that she wasn't sure if I could really help her because I wasn't Korean too. I picked up a music book with writing in Korean and pointed to a note. I told her, "Music is a universal language. This note is the same note in Korea as it is in America or even in Japan." Her eyes grew wide! She never questioned me again. She became one of my best students! I taught her music and encouraged her to teach me a few words in her language. She loved this because it gave her confidence.
By the time she left, she walked smoothly with a twinkle in her eye instead of hanging her head down and staring at the floor. She had learned about her strengths. I felt she was extremely bright and could do many things. When we invest time and energy in human potential, it often pays tremendous dividends.
TOTAL COMMITMENT 2 U
To date, I've coached over 25+ music genres including music in over seven languages. I'm so committed to helping you grow that if you come to me with a question I can't answer, I'll go and find the answer. That's right. When my students ask me about a lesser-known genre or a song that isn't widely know, I'll research it to help them learn and progress. I've spent literally hundreds of hours studying things just to be able to help students. You will never find ANY teacher who knows everything. But if you study with me and ask me a question that I can't answer, I guarantee you that I will find the answer for you. Don't abuse this of course. This should be the exception and not the rule. Just know not every teacher will do this for you. In fact, many teachers don't commit much time between lessons and some don't increase their own knowledge base over time at all. Why do I do this? Because I think music is pretty Kool and I think my students are super Kool! You can rest assured that you will be in good hands.
You cannot get something for nothing. If you're serious you'll find a way to pay the fees, which honor the process as well as the teacher. I've gone through this process myself for many years. If you take short-cuts, I guarantee you'll get short-changed in the end. Nothing can ever replace timeless wisdom flowing from one person to another. I offer one of the best values out there, again because it is a balance of the artist teacher lineage, three generations of musical wisdom, my music degrees, professional writings, university teaching experience and Billboard-charting, award-winning recording career. Take advantage of this now. I don't always publicize on the Internet due to high demand. This is only for a limited time.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Sign up for a Trial Lesson or Workshop and let's get started! If you decide it's not for you, just pay for the single lesson and there's no commitment, no questions asked. Usually if it's a good fit, we will both know. If it's not, no problem. If you want to proceed further, you can do a block of lessons, a workshop or both.
Looking forward to meeting you!
(c) 2017-2021 Katherine Farnham