Guitar - Piano - Composition
Composer and conductor Justine Koontz uses music as a way of discovering a person’s identity. Her work, encompassing teaching, composing, entrepreneurship and self-publishing, conducting, and even international scholarship, explores how music defines people and their relationships and self-image.
As a teacher, Justine teaches guitar and piano to students of all ages. She is also Director of Music at Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and has also taught numerous workshops and summer camps in different musical topics. Something of a musical "omnivore," Justine enjoys meeting students where they are at, then sharing all sorts of new ideas with them.
As a composer, Justine writes primarily for choir and chamber ensembles in musical languages that are accessible yet diverse. As a conductor, Justine is especially interested in new music. Additionally, Justine completed a year of study on a Fulbright scholarship during the 2016-2017 academic year, where she researched the choral culture of Latvia.
Justine completed an M.M. in choral conducting and composition at Butler University and a B.A. in music theory and composition at McDaniel College, where her primary instrument was classical guitar. She has received additional training at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Music Academy and the Saskatoon Orchestral Association. She lives outside of Baltimore, and when she is not making music, she enjoys fine craft, German, exercising, and gardening.
In the classroom, I am a strong believer in Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. I myself am a kinesthetic and interpersonal learner in a primarily auditory medium. I recognize that learning processes are uniquely individual, and part of my role as teacher is to uncover ways in which my students best learn.
I believe that musical aptitude is as individual as our fingerprints. We all have different musical abilities and different ways of learning music regarding both theoretical and applied concepts. As a result, I plan individualized lessons that take advantage of my students’ strengths while tending to their weaknesses.
Music is a life-long activity. Our interests in music can change as we learn more and gain more life experience. The things that bring us to music study may happen at different stages in life for different reasons. I believe those should be honored as part of your musical journey.
Music is a universal language because of the universality of the emotions it communicates. When we are at our best musically, we have the potential to demonstrate the best of ourselves.