You're in the right place!
Hey there! Are you a student who's always wanted to take private music lessons? Or are you a parent watching your student shine at their instrument, but complaining of boredom that they aren't being challenged in band? Perhaps you are an educator running low on ideas for your band students to have clean articulation and perform with better posture?
I’m Lauren, and I can definitely relate to your instrumental qualms
and problems, issues
How it feels to not have motivation to practice.
How it feels to be last chair in ensembles.
How it feels to play with performance anxiety and physical pain.
How it feels to not make any progress after putting in a lot of effort.
I have dealt with similar issues in my music education.
my personal journey in music
so grab a bowl of popcorn and keep scrolling to learn about
When all of my friends and I picked out instruments to try at the instrumental petting zoo, we all wanted to be together in the clarinet section. My plans changed slightly when I tried the clarinet and HATED the taste of the reed! I tried my second choice: the flute. It was a great match for me, and I was incredibly fortunate to take private lessons before fifth grade band started in the fall.
Even with the fun lessons and the best band teachers, I was a typical middle school music student. And by that, I mean… my mom had to force me to practice 10 minutes every other day. I loved the flute but avoided the practicing. The lack of practice habits finally caught up to me two years later in seventh grade.
That’s when I got my wake-up call.
If I wanted to place better than last chair at our local District Music Festival, I needed to practice. That moment at the final concert opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be achieved musically with hard work, elbow grease, and perseverance.
The next few years played out to be some of my most fond musical memories. Some memories included performing in the school pit orchestra, bringing the flute as a vital component to the jazz
band, and moving up the ranks at the Vermont Youth Orchestra. When it was time to figure out what path I wanted to take for my future schooling and career, music was the clear path. Growing up with numerous performing ensemble opportunities with colleagues around the nation, I felt (and still feel) that:
I was a part of something greater than myself.
My undergraduate degrees at the Crane School of Music cultivated my love and passion for music and teaching. During my four and a half years in upstate New York, I met some of the most selfless and passionate mentors. They provided me with guidance to build my music education, performance, and real-world skills. One of the most important concepts that I learned was from my flute professor, Kenneth Andrews:
My students are top priority.
After finishing my degrees in music education, performance, and business in 2017, I had a choice to make: pursue graduate school in flute performance or go directly into the work force and teach full-
time. Through many months of frequent flyer miles, applications, and interviews, I decided to move to West Virginia! Graduate school came at
a cost though: moving away from my fiancé and family even farther
away from home. And let me tell you, it was no walk in the park. The
amazing performances, colleagues, and research projects definitely
outweighed the frustrations, tears, and exponential increase in anxiety. The two years in West Virginia opened my eyes that mental and physical health comes first.
My master’s degree was a period of time in my life to work with performance anxiety, imposter syndrome, and pain throughout my body. I still work daily on my musical mentality and new ways to approach my flute in a healthy and comfortable way. This new-found interest has led me to research projects and conference presentations on mental musicianship and collaborations with colleagues on physical ailments in the flute world. From first-hand experience:
No one should be in pain when they play their instrument.
Now leaving the academic side of teaching and learning, I strive to be the best learner I can be. I constantly want to learn and grow in all aspects and disciplines: flute, education, history, mental musicianship… the list doesn’t end! I strive to constantly challenge the status quo in teaching and performing by always finding pieces to learn and concepts to teach. In the future I hope to pursue my doctorate in music to continue my growth in music education and to give back to my community and students.
When I’m not working at school, teaching lessons or practicing my flute, I can be found curled up on the couch with a good book or off exploring a new state park with my fiancé and our pop-up camper!
I recently moved to the Baltimore area with my fiancé, cat, two rabbits, a turtle, and
a gecko! When you walk into my home, you are a part of the flute family and
The Zwonik Zoo!
Special shoutout and photo-taking credit to my mom, the wonderful flute photographer!