We had the good fortune of connecting with Lily Lyons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lily, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
As a music teacher I feel most successful in the moments when my students catch a spark of excitement. Maybe it’s when they first play the beginning of their favorite song, or when we’ve found a way to turn a technical exercise into a game that makes them laugh while still learning. Music is challenging but it also can be joyful and creative. It’s my job to be patient and adaptable as I discover what makes each individual student tick. When I make a lesson challenging enough to help someone grow but motivating enough to keep them engaged, then I consider that a success!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Something I’m proud of is that I teach my students not only to play what other people have written but also to create their own music. Even my most beginning students learn to improvise and find melodies and patterns they like on violin or piano. Often traditional music education can push instrumentalists to memorize what others have done without supporting them in developing their own voice or creativity. I’m passionate about changing that!
The biggest thing I’ve learned along the way as a music teacher is that often the simplest advice makes the biggest impact on a student’s progress. When I first started teaching 9 years ago, I would share too many ideas at once. Time and experience have taught me to be clearer and focus on giving the right feedback at the right time without overcomplicating things.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Recently my friend visited and we had the best time going thrifting in Topanga at Hidden Treasures then driving down to the coast and wading into the ocean in Malibu. Is it really visiting LA if you don’t have a good beach day?
As far as dining goes, Apey Kade in Tarzana is the most warm, friendly, family-run Sri Lankan restaurant. Often you get to try different vegetables and flavors in their dishes depending on what fresh produce they got that week which is so fun! I’m in love with their dhal.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My first shoutout is to my own music teachers, most recently Sandra Kott and Mark Simos. I carry their wisdom, warmth, and fresh perspectives with me as I work in the industry. Their ideas helped me stay curious and be committed to constantly growing as an instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer.
I’d also like to give a shoutout to Red Pelican Music, which is an excellent music lessons company I work with in LA. They approach their students in a way that is personable, kind, and individualized, which is very much in alignment with my own philosophy about teaching.
Other: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katya Krishnan, Bette Miller