After many years as a professional singer and musician, I decided to follow a new path working with my other love—language.
With a Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Louisiana State University, I entered the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Graduate Certification program at San Jose State University. By the time I completed my research projects at the end of the first semester, I knew what I wanted to specialize in. I wrote the following in one of my research papers:
I have a natural affinity for the rhythm in both spoken and written English. As a musician I also have an acute ear which I think attunes me to accents in language as well as pitches in music. This research project has led me to consider trying to combine two of my favorite things — music and language — to help learners achieve more natural, rhythmic, and understandable spoken English.
As in many ESL teacher training programs, teaching pronunciation was not given much attention in the one I attended. When I completed the Certification process, I began doing independent research on the subject. Some of the people whose ideas and methods influenced my Top-Down Approach on are noted on my Teacher Resources page.
At present I am teaching pronunciation classes in the ESL Department at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, as well as working on pronunciation and fluency with international diplomats and executives in their Custom Language Service. I also teach individual private students, either in person or online using Skype.