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We loved Hannah as soon as she came in to interview with us for our nonprofit. Sweet, down to earth, and incredibly musically accomplished, she’s everything we wanted in a music teacher for our programs. Hannah currently runs our Music For Play preschool music program at Pretend City Children’s Museum and will be starting in April running the same class at the Newport Beach Community Center. We thought she’d be the perfect February Teacher Feature.

MM: What instrument do you play, how did you get started with each one, and how long have you been playing them?

HY: I play the piano and I started playing it when I was 4 years old.  I had originally wanted to play the trumpet or violin, but a teacher said my pinky was a bit too short, so was encouraged to wait till I grew a little more.  I really wanted to learn music, so my mom decided to try piano and I loved it ever since.

MM: Who has inspired you musically?

HY: My music teacher, Mrs. Alison Edwards, inspired me the most musically.  She taught that we can communicate and express through music.

MM: How do you practice, and how do you balance music with some of your other life goals? How do you encourage your students to practice?

HY: I’ve been taught at an early age to be disciplined in my practice of piano, but now that I am older and have to balance my school and work goals as well, I try to simply enjoy playing and listening to music.  I play to spend time releasing myself, but also to have fun and when I am engaged and motivated, practice never seems like practice.  I encourage students to do the same – to look at music as something to be enjoyed because once practice becomes just about drills or rigid regimens to follow, it takes the simple aspect of enjoyment out of music.

MM: What’s your background working with kids?

HY: I’ve been working with kids ever since my high school and throughout college as a tutor, but I also taught grades 3rd-6th in Korea as an English teacher and after school programs here in the US for grades K-8th.  I currently do field work at elementary schools while working on my multiple subject credentials.

MM: Tell me about how the Pretend City classes have been going so far.

HY: The Pretend City classes have been going very well!  It’s always such a joy to explore music with all my students, and it gets me excited to watch everyone expand on their musical knowledge each week!  We sing and dance and get goofy exploring music together!

MM: If you were stranded on an island and only got to choose one album, which would you choose?

HY: If I were stranded on an island and only could choose one album, I would choose “In Between Dreams” by Jack Johnson.

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