Originally from Los Angeles and Chicago, Kari moved out to Boulder as an ATLAS Scholar at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a first year masters student in Music Composition, she taught two full classes of music theory/aural skills, and was honored to write and perform in the coveted Atlas Black Box theater. She loved this opportunity, as it gave her the impetus to work with other art forms, such as children’s theater, choir, dance, and video. Kari soon realized that this was her calling—multimedia works and education. Finishing her masters, the only critique from professors was, “we wish you would focus more on traditional composition, and less on your vocal studio and children’s theater…” She laughed, for it was just those two disciplines which brought her the most joy -- it was her students that were her true success. And they still are today.
In the Summer of 2013, Kari was approached by a couple of student's parents with an offer to finance her first business, the educationally based performing arts company “Reel Kids”, based in Superior, Colorado. All they wanted was for their kids to have a better educational experience than the theaters she had worked for. With their financial help, and her perseverance, she purchased Reel Kids, and redesigned the curriculum to what it is today—a thriving collaborative arts and technology center; it has been a huge success. In the first year, they graduated nine seniors, all bound for colleges and universities in music, acting, or technology.
Still, Kari’s first love was voice and composition—that’s where her heart sings! When she heard of the merger opportunities at Boulder Music (formerly Wildflower Music), she almost cried—it would be a dream come true! Her students could have opportunities at Wildflower; Wildflower students could learn at Reel Kids; Reel Kids could support kids, projects, video work, and live performances. . . THIS is her passion, this is her dream and, because of the generosity and creativity of former Wildflower owner Monica Augustine, it has come true.
Kari believes in the individuality of each student; she allows for the student to drive the direction of the lesson. This does not, however, mean that she lets them "take the wheel," rather, they are sitting up front with Kari and navigating the road of musical expression with their number one fan, their teacher! She finds that if she trusts the student to take artistic responsibility, they treat that responsibility with respect and weight. She will ask a lot of her students and they do tend to move at a pretty fast pace, but they learn, fail, succeed and grow every step of the way!
Vocally, Kari is Kodaly based (hand signals, solfeggi based, movable Do), and incorporates music theory in every lesson. Her goal is to teach smart artists - artists who do more than "sing pretty," but that also know their rhythms, how to play basic accompaniment, how to communicate in a professional manner and, most of all, know what they DON'T know--and be willing to accept and learn!
Compositionally, Kari was never given the opportunity to learn "singer-songwriter" composition, although she thinks that's what she wanted all along. The programs she attended in college and graduate school echoed either traditional composition or multi-media art. Thanks to both Pepperdine University and CU, she is very well trained, for she had excellent teachers herself! Therefore, her compositional training is such that she knows the rules, and how to break them with finesse. In her "free" time, she loves writing simple songs for voice and piano--and letting go! In fact, she recently created the jazz duo “Take Two”, with fellow faculty member Joshua Rich, which gives her a chance to sing and perform in the jazz style of the 1930s ad 40s; her favorite era, for sure. She loves teaching in both those spectrums, and finds immense value in learning from her students while teaching. She firmly believes each artist has a voice, and her overall goal is to be the vessel for them to learn just how to find that beautiful voice - in composition, piano or vocal performance.
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