Shannon Lowe: “We Improve as Teachers When We Continue That Quest for Knowledge and Invite Others to Share and Learn”
Accompanying pianist. Copywriter.
This interview with musician and educator Shannon Lowe provides a comprehensive overview of her journey from a young piano enthusiast to an accomplished bassoonist and dedicated teacher. Lowe’s musical initiation, rooted in familial and environmental influences, propelled her into the realm of the bassoon during her middle school years, a choice that would shape her musical trajectory. Her early experiences as a leader and coach within school bands foreshadowed her future role as an educator.
Lowe’s dual passion for music and animals initially led her towards a path in veterinary science during her college years. However, a realization of her devotion to music prompted her to switch to a music education major, solidifying her commitment to teaching. Her teaching philosophy centers on authenticity, encouraging students to embrace their true selves and fostering an environment where students feel comfortable opening up. She emphasizes diagnosing individual weaknesses and tailoring approaches to fit each student’s unique needs, advocating for a flexible and adaptable teaching style.
The atmosphere at the University of Florida, where Lowe teaches, is described as supportive and collaborative, fostering a sense of community among faculty, staff, and students. Lowe primarily teaches collegiate-level bassoonists, including undergraduates, graduates, and recently added doctoral students. Despite her preference for variety in student levels, she appreciates the excitement of guiding advanced students to explore the nuances of music without technical hindrances.
In discussing practice techniques, Lowe advocates for slow practice, varied approaches, and the incorporation of long-tone practice with drones. She recommends technique books that focus on scales, arpeggios, and etudes, highlighting the importance of fluency in reading music for bassoonists. Lowe concludes with valuable advice for both students and teachers, emphasizing the significance of perseverance, self-reflection, flexibility, and a continuous pursuit of knowledge in the field of music education.