Jacqueline Smith, Suzuki Piano
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Jacqueline Smith

suzuki piano

Jacqueline Smith, Suzuki PianoJacqueline Smith is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, where she received the Elizabeth Deavenport Scholarship in music education and the Vaughn Scholarship in piano. She holds a Master of Creative Arts Therapy in Music Therapy from Drexel University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in music education at the University of Hartford's Hartt School. Smith is a certified Suzuki piano instructor with over 30 years of piano teaching experience, and she teaches Suzuki and traditional piano and chamber music in The Hartt School Community Division.

As a pianist, Smith has taught at the Pomfret and Rectory Schools in Pomfret, Conn., and in her studio in West Hartford, Conn. In addition, she has extensive experience accompanying musical theatre and choral groups. She has music-directed numerous shows and has been rehearsal pianist for many others. She has accompanied school choirs from the elementary through college levels, has accompanied school groups on their annual trips to adjudication festivals such as Festivals of Music and the Berklee Jazz Festival, and has played for the Broadway Dreams Foundation.

As an instrumental conductor and educator, Smith was the chair of the performing arts department at The Rectory School, where she built an instrumental music program within the school and a community-based music instruction program for the surrounding community in northeast Connecticut. During her twenty-year tenure, Smith was recognized with the Harold Rosbottom Award in 2010 and the Peter Kellogg Grant in 2004, both for excellence in teaching, and the One Person Can Make A Difference Award in 2011 given to the faculty member who, in the opinion of the graduating class, made the greatest difference through teaching. Additionally, Smith was a university supervisor for student teachers at the University of Connecticut, and taught the seminar in instrumental music teaching for undergraduates. 

Smith is currently an adjunct faculty member in the music education department at The Hartt School, where she supervises student teachers, oversees the String Project at the University of Hartford Magnet School, and teaches woodwind methods. Smith’s research interests include teaching music to children with exceptionalities, collaboration between music education and music therapy, assessment in instrumental music education, and teacher education. Her research on sight-reading in band is published in the online research journal Visions of Research in Music Education. Smith has presented at the International Society for Music Education Commission on Special Education and Music Therapy, the National Autism and Arts Education Symposium, the Society for Music Teacher Education Symposium, the Society for Research in Music Education, the National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Conference, the Connecticut Music Educators Conference, and the University of Hartford Graduate Research Symposium.

Teaching Philosophy

My goal as a music educator is to provide an environment where all students feel comfortable to take risks to explore their own musicality. I do this in my piano studio by providing a strong foundation in basic musical concepts and good piano technique. I believe that my role as an educator is to guide students to take ownership of their own learning by modeling the type of practice that I expect between weekly lessons. In our lessons, I provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of musical concepts and techniques before I ask them to do so on their own. I ensure that my students have a depth of understanding and a fluency of skills on a particular concept before moving onto a new one. I model the musicality that I hope to develop in my students, and I use questioning to assess their understanding.

To help my students to develop their musicality requires that I teach them in the manner that best suits their learning needs. I think deeply about how to adapt my teaching to best help my students to learn so that each child will achieve success in some manner every week in the lesson. I value the importance of these small successes in the development of the child’s musicality and skill, and I structure the lesson by providing opportunities for success even on the smallest level. I believe that every child is musical, and that it is the role of the teacher to guide him or her to realize this musical potential.  

On a broader perspective, I believe that all students should have the opportunity to sing, listen, and perform music from our culture to provide a strong foundation and a perspective of belonging in society. I believe that all students should have the opportunity to sing, listen, and perform music from varied cultures so as to provide a greater understanding of and tolerance toward different races, cultures, and beliefs so that they can better understand that they are part of a global society. I believe that teachers should guide students to discover music that is meaningful to them so that they can appreciate beauty and have a greater understanding of their own emotions. I believe that teachers should encourage students to be creative and critical thinkers by learning the skills to make their own musical decisions, whether it is through performing music, composing music, or responding to music. It is my goal as a music educator to help others discover a deeper understanding of the human condition through experiences in music.