One of the things Ruth enjoys the most is to expand the knowledge, skill, and love of music within students of all ages, ranging from elementary to adult. She combines training in the Suzuki method with a mixture of newer and more traditional methods to help each student grow in technique and musicality. It is a joy for her to see students to grow in ability, confidence, and to be able to express themselves through music. While she understands that many of her students will go on to other things and professions, she hopes that they may hold on to the love of music and the discipline, listening, and focus that they learn through music lessons.
Ruth has been a faculty member with the String Academy of Chicago and Naperville North High School since 2008 and expanded her teaching to Naperville Central High School in 2015. Many of the students from the High Schools have not previously received private lessons so she has a unique experience with filling in technique gaps that had gone unnoticed or unaddressed in orchestra classes while simultaneously expanding each student's skill in playing both as a soloist and as part of a larger ensemble.
Ruth has been a judge for local solo ensembles, participated in seating placements for youth orchestras, coached chamber ensembles as well as cello sectionals with Naperville North, Naperville Central, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Naperville Youth Symphony and more. She has helped students prepare for auditions in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Youth Symphony, the Naperville Youth Symphony, and Credo Chamber Music Festival as well as local concerto competitions and college auditions.
Not only does Ruth teach cello but she also teaches beginning and intermediate piano lessons at the String Academy. She accompanies her own students in both their lessons and recitals so they may have a greater understanding of the piece as a whole and gain experience playing with an pianist. She believes that it is important to know how to listen and collaborate with others is a vital skill in music as well as in life.
Ruth began to teach a series of Soundtrack classes in the summer of 2020, looking at the main themes of movies and how they assist in telling the story through motifs, instrumentation, and style. The initial series included Star Wars, Harry Potter, Frozen, Hamilton, and more. Since then, she has focused on soundtracks for Jane Austen adaptations and gave a break-out session at the Annual General Meeting for the Jane Austen Society of North America on the music of Pride and Prejudice.
"My son studied cello with Ruth Mudge for seven years. Ruth is the perfect blend of inspiring music teacher and a stickler for good cello technique. Ruth was encouraging yet challenging. My son blossomed as a cello player under her instruction and so did his love of music. He is now off to college to major in cello performance. Ruth is a delightful person who shares her passion for music with her students."
- Nancy (parent)
"Ruth was always supportive and open to working with me on the music I wanted to study. Her teaching is a perfect blend of technical rigor and artistry, so our lessons always felt both productive and creative!"
- Jay (former student)
Ruth has been teaching Soundtracks classes on Zoom ranging from Jane Austen adaptations to Harry Potter to Frozen. Future classes and upcoming related projects will be announced soon.
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