About Dr. Baker

Music and Teaching  Experience

I have over 30 years of performing and teaching experience. I hold four degrees, including a Bachelor of Music from San Francisco State University. I’ve also held an Oregon State public school teaching license in music as well as a doctorate in education.  I was a church music director for 20 years producing over 50 dramatic musicals for children and adults. I perform in local orchestras, and I enjoy playing in local chamber music groups. I find great delight in helping others discover their talents and supporting their development.

Teaching Philosophy

Goals:  I want my students to be goal oriented.  They need to know why they want to express themselves through music.  I help them articulate their goals and coach them in figuring out how to accomplish them.

Instruction:  Instruction is based on the student’s specific goals.  The goals are achieved by success in the small steps that lead to their development. Success step by step is motivating as the student sees their own progress.

Methods:  A balanced approach of teacher modeling or demonstration, varied examples representative of excellence in the field, and guided student experimentation serve well to facilitate musical skill and expression.

Musical skill:  Having a solid technical foundation is essential for students to be free to express the music that is within them without encumbrances.  It’s also important for being able to sing or play an instrument for the rest of their lives in a healthy and safe way.  Establishing good playing habits early on will avoid having to spend valuable time relearning technique later.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent!

Practicing is stimulating:  Students need to know what they are practicing and why they are practicing every week.  Nothing is more encouraging for students than realizing steady progress towards their own goals.

Performances are mileposts:  Music should be shared with others, even if it’s just for your close friends and family.  It’s more than getting the right notes and displaying great technique.  It’s a memorable and expressive release of the music from within.

Enjoying the journey:  Music is fun! Whether it’s a hobby or a professional pursuit, students will want to love the process of learning and sharing their music with others.


2007         M.Ed. – TESOL, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ

2003         Ed.D. – Educational Administration, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA

1991          M.A. – Pastoral Studies, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa,CA

1977          B.M. – Music – Performance and Music Education, San Francisco State University


2007          Oregon Teaching License – Early Childhood/Elementary with Music and ESOL/bilingual endorsements (Spanish)

1992           California Teaching Credentials – Multiple Subjects, Music, Bilingual


2001-2006       School Administrator

1993 – 2010      Elementary bilingual and sheltered English teacher and secondary level Spanish teacher

1978 -2003       Private Music Teacher and Music Pastor/Director– Taught private music lessons with classical and contemporary emphasis; Directed total church music program encompassing music education and performance, including fully produced musical theater productions for children and adults involving up to 250 participants (choral directing, drama casting and directing, script writing, sets, props, make-up, sound, lighting, publicity, budgeting, and orchestration).


2012-                Silverwind Strings (string quartet), Salem Philharmonia Orchestra, other Chamber Music Groups

2006-2010       Circle Of Fifths – String quintet (Salem’s Camerata Musica series); Camerata Chamber music play-in sessions

2005-               Salem Pops Orchestra, Oregon

2002                Modesto JC Orchestra, California

1978-2003       Music Director – Choir, orchestra, musicals, touring ensembles, soloist  

1973-1977        CSU, San Francisco Symphonic, Opera, and String Orchestras; Studied with Tom Heimberg and Donald Erlich, members of the San Francisco Symphony; Napa Symphony; Vallejo Symphony; free-lance playing for recordings and church concerts; Chamber music workshops: CSU, Eureka and CSU, San Jose

1971                California Musician’s Union summer youth camp orchestra

1972                America’s Youth in Concert Orchestra – US/European tour:  Carnegie Hall in New York City, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, London, Brussels, Paris, Salzburg, Venice, Florence, and Rome.

1970-1973       California Youth Symphony, Los Altos, CA; Studied with Ferne Carlisle, member of the San Jose Symphony