Margaux LeSourd Erler
Teaching and educational background:
I began formal classical voice training when I was 16, which I continued throughout college in addition to studying jazz and bossa nova. I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Richmond (Virginia) in 2007 with a B.A. in Ethnomusicology, and I have been teaching voice and piano privately in a variety of settings since that time, including a position as Teacher’s Assistant and Private Piano Instructor at Richmond’s Central Montessori School; Private Voice and Piano Instructor at the Ashland Music Academy; and my current residency teaching voice and piano at the Seattle Drum School in Georgetown.
My approach to teaching:
Above all else, I make it a point to keep in mind that not only is each student an individual, but that each day is a new day, meaning that I meet my student where he/she is at that moment. I have come to realize that when it comes to teaching (and life!), flexibility and fluidity are as important as discipline and structure.
VOICE: Beginner to Advanced
For the first quarter of your lesson (give or take), I like to work through the fundamentals of singing, meaning a breathing/ vocal warm-up regimen and exercises that instill techniques for healthy singing and speaking habits. The second part of the lesson focuses on building repertoire and applying the techniques from the first portion of the lesson to the songs you choose. (I’m also happy to make song suggestions for you if you prefer). Additionally, if you’re interested in learning music theory, we can also work on scales and arpeggios, chord theory, ear-training, songwriting, etc. All of this will of course depend on your particular goals and interests, and we can spend a little time during the first lesson to outline what these are and create a curriculum that suits you.
PIANO: Beginner to Intermediate
I draw from a variety of methodologies in my piano instruction. At the forefront is what I learned during my time teaching at Central Montessori School in Richmond, Virginia, where the emphasis was on nurturing a child’s innately inquisitive nature while also providing balance and structure to the lesson. (Believe it or not, this also applies to adults)! My philosophy is that a student’s strengths can be used as tools to improve upon areas of weakness, and that in balancing the more challenging activities with those that the student demonstrates mastery over is essential to the development of self-confidence as well as the desire to continually learn and improve. I use a variety of book series to teach piano fundamentals, but I really try to stay away from merely plugging through lesson books. There is so much music out there, and I try as much as possible to find music that gets the student excited about their lessons. We do, of course, have to work through the fundamentals (generally at the beginning of each lesson), which means scales and arpeggios, chord theory, reading staff notation, etc.
I started my professional music career in 2005 as a university student in Richmond, Virginia, gigging at local venues with the University of Richmond’s small jazz ensemble. I have since performed a breadth of different genres including jazz, bossa nova (Brazilian jazz), funk, r&b, soul, blues, pop, folk, rock, and trip-hop. Past projects include Alice in the River, the solo project of Alice Sandahl of La Luz (keys, vibraphone, and backing vocals); and Soft Starts, lead by former member of Sleepy Eyes of Death Joel Harmon (keys, vibraphone, bells, moog synth, and vocals). Current projects include Feeds on Majesty, the solo project of Seattle Symphony Contrabassist Travis Gore (keys and backing vocals); Wild Child, a tribute to women in rock from the 60’s to the present (keys and backing vocals); and my solo project, formerly known as Margaux’s Little Ploy (keys, lead vocals, and songwriting/arranging).