Teacher Feature: Sarah Vallery – Vocal and Piano Instructor
Vocal and piano instructor Sarah Vallery is quickly spreading her music bug throughout Orange County. Sarah recently relocated to Orange County from Pennsylvania and has her Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College, well known for their outstanding music program. Her passion for teaching, combined with her music education and background is what makes Sarah one of our top instructors!
With her New York and Pennsylvania teaching certifications, Sarah has taught in numerous school districts and music conservatories including: Philadelphia School Districts, Conservatory of Music & Dance in Eagleville PA, Wissahickon School District, Learn Listen Play in Ardmore PA, and Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts. During this time, Sarah taught ages ranging from infants to 18, developing her own curriculum based for choir, ensemble, recorder, and general music theory.
In addition to committing herself to teaching, Sarah has also spent several years performing nationally and internationally. With her Ithaca College Choir, she premiered “Gravity’s Dream” by Steven Stucky and also participated in the spring tour through Washington DC, Greenville-Spartanburg SC, Marietta GA, Atlanta GA, and Greensboro NC. Additionally, Sarah was section leader of the Upper Dublin Choristers and part of the Classical Movements Tour of Austria & the Czech Republic.
As a recent graduate in 2010 with all of this experience under her belt, one might think Sarah could be a very serious instructor. While she does take her lesson planning and teaching very seriously, Sarah’s students have reported her to be one of the most fun and funniest teachers they have every had!
As a musician and teacher Sarah has learned, “being successful in music is to work. It doesn’t have to be long amounts of time, but effective time.” She further explains, “10-15 minutes a day of effective practicing benefits a musician in so many ways.” Sarah also talks a lot about the importance of failure being an essential part of the learning process, “we have been taught not to fail, but we all can’t be perfect. Failure allows us to grow. That’s part of the reason why music is so beautiful with its imperfections or ‘things gone wrong’ while performing.” These are important things for our students to especially remember during our semi-annual recitals. She says to, “strive for perfection, but allow yourself the freedom to be yourself and make mistakes.
Sarah remembers a time performing when those “things gone wrong” really did transform herself as a musician:
In high school I was the lead singer for our premiere Jazz Band. I had practiced, and practiced, and practiced. There was one section in the song “Daydream” that I could not memorize; it just didn’t stick. It was time for me to enter the stage and I began to sing. When I reached the part that I kept having trouble with, I just let myself go with the music. Now, I won’t say whether I got it right or whether I got it wrong; however, it didn’t matter. I allowed myself to enjoy the music and I learned so much from my failures that I could finally sing the style the way it should be sung. I won the solo award for that performance (which was unheard of because it is always awarded to instrumentalists).
This story has a theme told time and time again from growing and even professional musicians. We are so pleased that Sarah chose to share this with us and to pass along the lesson to our readers.
Sarah is now accepting new students although her schedule is filling quickly. If you would like Miss Sarah as your teacher, please email or call to reserve your private lesson in her schedule.