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Kayla Schoeny

Instructor of Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano

My Background: Piano was my first instrument at the age of 3, and will always be my first musical love. I added cello to my practice when I was 10 and after high school, decided to get my Bachelors in Cello Performance and then my Masters in Cello Performance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While at UIUC, I studied cello with Prof. Dmitry Kouzov (who also plays piano in addition to cello!), and was very fortunate to win the University of Illinois Smith Competition my junior year. Towards the end of my time at university, I spent a summer at the Chicago Institute of Music working towards my certifications in Suzuki Method with Joanne Melvin and Barbara Wampner. After graduating with my masters, I worked as a cello and violin instructor with the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestras and also taught my own cello and piano studios in Champaign, Monticello, Peoria, and Springfield, IL. I am so excited to finally be a part of such a great teaching team here at Flourish Music Academy!

 

What I love about teaching: My favorite thing about teaching is showing students that they can – whether that is performing, reading music, or even writing their own songs! The attitude of “I can” is one we can take from our music lessons into any other part of our lives. When students set a goal, determine a plan for success, execute their plan, and then celebrate their results, they gain the skills and confidence needed to tackle any problem that may get in their way. It is my sincere hope for all of my students to leave their lessons full of determination for their own passions!

 

One way I help my students succeed and flourish: While teaching, I try hard to avoid only teaching through correction. This means that instead of focusing on what is incorrect, we do exercises and games that engage with the skills we want to grow. This creates a holistic understanding of the skill instead of only focusing on playing the song “perfectly”. For example, if a student is struggling with a rhythm, instead of saying “This rhythm is wrong, here is how to play it correctly”, I’ll lead the student through a game or activity that is adjacent to the song, but secretly works out the rhythm they were struggling with! This maintains the students confidence while still working towards excellence in their practice.

 

Performance Experience:  I have been very fortunate to have been able to perform in many groups all throughout the midwest. In Illinois, these groups include the Urbana-Champaign Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Sinfonia Da Camera, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Danville Symphony Orchestra, Kankakee Symphony Orchestra, and the Illinois Electric Instrument Ensemble. Outside of Illinois, I was awarded summer residencies with the Ad Astra Music Festival String Quartet, the Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival Orchestra, and Ohio Light Opera.

 

QUICK FACTS

Hometown: Yorkville, IL

My Musical Influences: Last year, I was in the top 0.05% of Lizzo listeners on Spotify, but my favorite album of all time is “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone”.

Favorite hobby or activity when not teaching or playing music: I love to play video games with friends (like League of Legends and Deep Rock Galactic).

Favorite food: Italian food – especially pasta!

 

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