Some of Miss Rachel’s earliest memories are musical. Standing on her tippy-toes to reach the keys of her grandfather’s piano, attempting to blow into her mom’s clarinet when she was barely taller than the instrument, singing along to the radio and every Disney movie, walking around with an old cassette walkman and headphones permanently affixed, figuring out how to read notes before words, harmonizing before learning to ride a bike, and – at the age of four – asking her children’s choir director how to conduct.
Her childhood was a blur of magical musical experiences: choirs, piano lessons, guitar lessons, and musical theater. But nothing quite hit the spark until she saw that dusty old child’s cello in the corner of her grandfather’s house and decided, “I’m going to play THAT!”
A student at John Jay High School here in Hopewell Jct, Rachel was often a section leader and soloist in the string orchestra and pit orchestras, while also performing with the Bard College Orchestra and the New Paltz College Community Orchestra. Her heart set on becoming a string teacher and inspiring others as her teachers and mentors had inspired her, she earned a Bachelors in Music Education from Moravian College – where she fell equally in love with an instrument called the viol da gamba – and a Masters from Kent State University. Later on, she discovered the immense joy that is early childhood education, and since earning her Kindermusik License in 2012 has helped hundreds of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents enjoy the benefits of early musical exposure.
After a brief time teaching elementary general music and chorus as well as high school orchestra in the public school setting, Rachel set out to fulfill a secret wish held since high school: to bring a music school to her hometown of Hopewell Jct. What began as piano lessons held in her living room grew into The Harmony Garden of today.
As a teacher, Rachel strives for her students to not just grow as musicians, but to grow more into the unique, beautiful people they are through the vehicle of music. She is eternally grateful for the opportunity to touch the lives of others with the joy of music and to be able to work with the amazing teachers on The Harmony Garden team.
When not at the studio, Rachel enjoys gardening, taking care of her rescue animals, reading, discovering new places, and some good old crime-solving tv.