Misuzu Kitazumi Burns

Typical School year Accomplishments


- Successful School musical and concert productions

- Students won 1st, 2nd and/or 3rd place on local Piano Competition

- School Jazz/rock Band placed an "Excellency" at the local Jazz Festivals in town

- Students got accepted schools such as Eastman and Berklee school of music


My Teaching Philosophy

In the fast moving society of the 21st - century, the ability for an individual to move quickly and decisively has never been more important. A person needs to be able to acquire new skills and models and simultaneously, be able to amend, append, or drop acquired knowledge in favor of new, changing environments and systems. I believe the modern teacher needs to be able to guide students into a life long journey of learning and to help the students acquire the tools, skills, and mind-set of a learner, so they are able to navigate and evolve; in pace, with the rest of the world. We as teachers also need to encourage students to think critically so they may cultivate their own ideas and opinions; and so they may seek out solutions to problems creatively, with thoughtfulness, and foresight.



Learning is when the transference of a skill or concept occurs, is internalized by the student, and they are in-turn, able to demonstrate materials properly. I not only wish to pass on technical information, but also ways of acquiring knowledge and ways of thinking so that the student will seek out knowledge throughout their life, can utilize learned materials creatively in their everyday life, and also in ways that are meaningful to them and their life-goals. It is also my intention that the student will think critically and thoughtfully so they may develop their own unique and individual ideas, distinguish facts from opinion, and will be better equipped to challenge preconceived and outmoded ideas in intelligent ways.



In the classroom, I like to use a combination of the following: interactive, and activity based lecture/dialogues, student-led group discussions, multi sensory learning and multi-media presentations. I feel that the use of a more dialogue driven lecture and student group discussions empowers the students with a sense of self-discovery and reflect, fosters critical thinking and problem solving. It also rids the class of the one-way, lecture dynamic where the students just listen to the teacher and take notes. Group discussions allow students to interact with their peers on subjects they may not normally discuss, and allows them to discover new ways of thinking. It also allows a forum to informally debate their views and challenge their preconceptions, instigate peer-to-peer transference of information, and allows students the benefit of reinforcing the subject to themselves and their peers. The utilization of multi media components (PowerPoint presentations, audio, video) whenever possible so the materials become alive and not just words on a page. This allows students to engage more senses and to see and hear discussed examples rather than purely reading about a subject.



My number one objective for my students is to instill a love of life-long learning. I feel that it is the best thing that was gifted to me by my teachers and is the number one skill I am most happy to have acquired during my academic career. For me, this skill is invaluable. It is useful for the times you are confronted with new and unfamiliar subjects and allows you to proactively seek out answers and solutions. It also pushes you to keep going further in your research and to seek new and exciting avenues to explore. Further aspirations for students include the ability to learn how to think critically. This is the essence of ones capability to “think for themselves”. This skill gives the student the skill to recognize obsolete or distorted information so that they may unearth the essentials from the superfluous. Critical thinking also allows for new discovery, as the practice allows one to examine a subject matter with suspect and to possibly find new, unexplored inroads and insights.



The ability for an individual to learn, unlearn, and relearn in one’s profession is paramount to continued success and growth. Three ways of achieving this is in teaching is through administration/colleague feedback, student feedback, and being involved in your profession through industry periodicals and workshops. Administration and colleague feedback is of great importance. It allows the recipient to know that they

are adhering to the standards of the learning institution and whether or not you are maintaining high,

professional standards, which are on par with their colleagues. It also keeps you connected to your

department and provides a dialogue about ways to improve your methods. Another essential way to receive feedback is through the use of student surveys. These surveys can give you insights into the classroom experience from the other side of the desk and can let you know if you are clearly presenting and outlining class information and materials to students, and whether you are meeting your student’s expectations or not. Last of all, keeping abreast of current techniques and trends through professional periodicals and workshops is a good way to make sure you do not fall behind into outmoded models of teaching and that you are satisfactorily passing on current, relevant information to your students. You can gain fresh perspectives on teaching from learning about what works in other disciplines and other institutions.

As an Experienced Educator


Instruments/Music skills


- Classical Piano, Popular piano and accompaniment, Jembe drum (West African style), Japanese Koto (Ikuta school)


Professional Experience in Music Education


- International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

- IB DP Level 1 training completed

- Has taught K-12, general music classes

- Experience teaching at public, private and boarding school

- Organized after school music program


Professional and NPO Organization Experience


- Was a board member and founder of Sierra Nevada Japanese language school

- Was a board member of Verde Valley Concert Association

- MTAC (Music Teachers Association California)

- Member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association)

- Founding member of Los Angeles Piano Unit 


As a Piano Teacher



- I had taught at University of Redlands community music school along with many other music schools in Southern California including an elementary school where I taught group music class and private piano lessons.

Teaching Experience at Institutions


Big Park Elementary School in Sedona, Arizona

- K-8 General Music Education


Southwestern Academy in Rimrock, Arizona

- High school Instrument Ensemble Music teacher



Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona

- Where I work as a director of the department and teach high school students to prepare for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program under the class room setting. Many of students who graduated from my class applies music school as their first choice. I also teach introduction to music class to 9th and 10th grade students to prepare them for IB music following year.



Kyodo Japanese Language system in San Fernando, CA.

- Where I teach high school students to prepare for the AP Japanese, SAT Japanese, high school credit, and Japanese Language proficiency Test under the class room setting.



Privately at West Valley Music Center in Woodland Hills

Privately at Oups Music South bay in Torrance, CA

Group Lesson at La Crescenta Music school, La Crescenta, CA



University of Redlands Community music school.



Teaching Competencies

In Music

- Classical piano All styles, Popular music, Non-idiomatic Improvisation, Composition, World Music, Music Theory, Ear training, Music History, Piano Lit, Group jimbe drum class, garageband software


In Japanese

- Reading, Writing, Grammar, Japanese Literature, Conversation, Japanese American history and culture, Traditional Japanese culture and history.