Terrie Fleming teaches at Arbor Music Tuesday - Friday
How did you get your start in music?
I was blessed to grow up in my family’s music store in Florence, Alabama- a city next door to Muscle Shoals, the hit recording capitol of the world. I was able to take piano, banjo, drum, and clarinet lessons all in one location- and with jam sessions at our house on Saturday nights, I had the opportunities to learn guitar, bass, mandolin and brush up on my improvisational skills. I walked to the university from work each day and received a BS in music and an MA in music education, paying my way through school by teaching. I began my professional career playing shows to advertise the music store, and then got with an agent that booked my band in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama. I performed on stage for over twenty years and loved every minute of it! The thrill of performing in front of audiences has to be one of the greatest thrills of my life!
What is your favorite style of music to play/What is your primary instrument?
My favorite style of music depends on the day. I love so many different styles that my mood directs what I listen to and play at the moment- which is why I do not have a primary instrument. The instrument that is closest to me at the moment is the one I’ll pick up and play.
Who is your favorite composer/Musician?
My favorite composer/musician? Again, I could not narrow it down to one. I visited Austria and walked the streets that Beethoven and Mozart followed and fell in love with their music all over again. But growing up in Alabama- in bluegrass country- I always find myself humming those Earl Scruggs tunes that make me smile and want to pick up my banjo… but then there’s Andre Segovia and his guitar.
What inspired you to teach/ What do you enjoy about teaching?
I was inspired by a piano teacher I had before we had the music store. I was five and when I missed a note, she’d hit me with a ruler. Later, when I looked back at these times, I knew I wanted to teach with a positive approach- to encourage students and help them have successful experience- not just in music but all endeavors. I enjoy watching the progressions of reaching milestones and seeing the look of accomplishment on each students face. My goal is to instill a love of music at whatever level they want to achieve.
How do you motivate students to practice?
I motivate my students to practice by showing them the techniques to have a successful practice.
What are some unique things you do to make a positive impact on students’ musical growth?
- I teach with positivity- that every step is a step towards their goal.
- I help them understand life happens-we cannot always practice the way we would like- but every small step is a step in the right direction.
- I help each student love whatever style of music they want and see where it fits in the scheme of things.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
The Giant sequoia is my favorite tree. It reaches heights of up to 311 feet and although not as tall as its cousin, the redwood, it makes up for in size- outweighing it substantially. I stare in awe when I see them and hear so much music when I walk among them.