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Instructor Spotlight: Erin Murray Quinlan

1. How long have you been teaching at Garden Street?

A whole 2 months!

2. What do you teach at Garden Street?

Piano, voice, ukulele, Rockassori, and musical theater

3. What is your favorite thing about Garden Street students?

Garden Street students are so game! They’re up for anything and love being challenged, and that’s so important to me as a teacher.

4. What initially drew you to the performing arts?

I loved watching Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals growing up, and my first Broadway show was ‘The King and I’ at the Neil Simon theater. I loved the idea of people bursting out into song and dance, and that was the world I wanted to live in.

5. What instrument(s) do you play?

Piano, ukulele, voice, and autoharp. I’m an avid collector of instruments I can’t play, so hopefully I’ll get around to learning my lute and didgeridoo too!

6. Where are you from and why did you move to the area?

I moved from Boston just this past August. I had been commuting to NYC once a week for three years and it was taking its toll.

7. What advice do you have for students practicing at home?

I wish there was some kind of magic answer I could give that would make practicing easier, but I only have one everyone else says because it works. Be patient with yourself, but don’t be afraid of a challenge. Commit to your goals. Trust that the things you do not like will help you get better if you just push onward. Trust me- I was a very negligent piano student when I was growing up, and finally submitting to practice was the best thing I ever did! I still practice piano for at least an hour a day and I still get super, super frustrated when things aren’t moving as fast as I want them to. Things go smoother if I promise myself candy.

8. What is your teaching philosophy?

It’s important to me that my students set their own goals and try to challenge themselves in an age-appropriate way. Figuring out what works for them while still making sure they’re getting a well-rounded music education is key.

9. What involvement do you have with the arts outside of Garden Street?

I write musical theater and plays. I’m currently working on several projects in NYC and London, and I’m a fellow at the BMI Lehman Engell Musical Theater Workshop.

10. What would you do if you were not a teacher/performer/composer?

I want my own food travel show so I can eat my way around the world. I’d also love to be an English teacher.

11. What is your favorite performance memory?

I met my husband while he was in a play I was writing the music to, so that’s up there!

12. What is an interesting or unexpected fact about you that most students do not know?

I spent five years working as a guide at an ancient Egyptian interactive adventure called ‘Tomb’.

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