Becca Scott | Instructor Bio

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  • What is your teaching philosophy?
    My philosophy is that any student can learn anything about any instrument, and maybe can even be good at it without trying very hard, but the best students know that practicing and working hard make you even better than you thought you could be, and that growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.


    What is your educational background?  Did you study music in school and/or privately?
    I hold a Master of Music, and have studied with Dr. Kevin Walcyzk, Dr. Keller Coker, and Adam Bates. I’ve had additional lessons and master classes with the Mel Brown Trio, Martha Reeves, Allen Toussaint, Ralph Towner, Glen Moore, Joe Lovano, Lizz Wright, Dave Metzger (composer/arranger), and Chris Thomas (composer/arranger).

  • How long have you been teaching music? At Youth Music Project?
    I’ve been teaching music for nine years, and this is my third year at Youth Music Project.
    What is your favorite thing about teaching music?
    I like when students understand what I’m trying to tell them and then are able to do a new thing because of what they have just learned. I also really enjoy watching students’ hard work and practice pay off when they perform a song they’ve been working on.
    What do you expect of your students in classes/lessons?
    I expect my students to try their best, make mistakes and then see what they can learn from them, and make improvements little by little as they put forth the effort to become musicians.

    What do you expect of your students’ parents?
    I expect students’ parents to encourage the student to work hard and do their best.

    When did you first start playing music?
    I first started singing at home when I was a little tiny baby girl, and began piano lessons at age nine.

    Do you play in any bands or perform in the Portland area?
    I play with a band called The Pumps, but we mostly perform in Salem.

    What is the first song you learned how to play, and how old were you?
    I don’t remember the first song I learned to play on piano, but the first song I ever played and sang at the same time, without my fingers playing the melody, was “Brick” by Ben Folds.

    How do you handle mistakes while practicing or during a performance?  
    Mistakes help you learn. When a mistake happens while practicing, it’s important to re-drill the hard bit the correct way, then start over to incorporate it into context. When mistakes happen in a performance, or during a performance run in rehearsal, it’s important to leave the mistake behind and continue with the rest of the song as if the mistake never happened. A lot of times, the audience won’t even know.

    Describe a challenging musical skill on your instrument that you had to work very hard to achieve.
    I had the hardest time learning eighth notes, I thought they were useless, because you could just write them as quarters and the quarters as halves, but then I realized I needed eighth notes. So, I kept working. Now, I get it!

    Who are your musical influences?
    Elton John, Carole King, Chicago, Billy Joel, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, Counting Crows.

    What do you feel when you play music?
    Usually I feel pretty excited, with a lot of adrenaline.

    If you had the chance to study and/or perform with any musician, living or deceased, who would it be?
    I would like to take composition lessons with Nadia Boulanger, and sing with Elton John.

    When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
    One day I woke up very early and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I went downstairs to watch some cartoons. That morning, because I was up at an unusual hour, I saw the X-Men cartoon come on, and I heard the theme music for the first time. I thought to myself, “I want to make that.” That was when I knew I wanted to be a musician.

    If you weren’t a musician/teacher what might you be?
    If I weren’t a musician, I would probably be pretty upset.