A Born Teacher
Youngest in a family of educators and professionals, Lita's parents dreamt of their daughter as a performing pianist. With many years of private piano lessons taken as a child and all the way up to high school, Lita went to the University of the Philippines to pursue her parents' dream. But her genes for education were too strong and dominant. Following her own heart, Lita pursued instead a calling for teaching, earning a Teacher's Diploma, a Bachelor's Degree in Music (Piano major), and a Master's degree in Music Education.
While still in post-graduate school, her profession was already taking shape as she gave private lessons to children on weekends. Right after university, she was hired and begun teaching music in some of Manila's exclusive private schools, later assigned as choir director at the St. Agustin Recoletos University, carefully balancing career with her budding family. As soon as her three children were all in school, Lita founded the Scherzo School of Music which in a short time branched out to three locations employing a dozen teachers for more than 200 students.
Pursuing to enhance her teaching skills, Lita heard of the Suzuki method and researched thoroughly about it. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's philosophy of nurturing a child's musical ability with love intrigued Lita so much that she soon found herself in a summer institute at the University of Wisconsin for intensive Suzuki teacher training where she studied under Jeanne Luedke and Bruce Anderson. Lita attended master classes by Dr. Haruko Kataoka and many other renowned Suzuki educators. Returning to Manila, Lita established the Talent Education Center which she later merged with Scherzo School to become the second of only three Suzuki centers in the Philippines.
1990 was the most significant milestone in Lita's life. After so much soul searching, her family left a good life in the Philippines and migrated to Canada. She was immediately blessed. No sooner than staking the ground in Mississauga, her schedule quickly became tight, word spreading fast of a new teacher in the area. After only a few months, Lita held her first student recital.
Ever striving to advance her knowledge and enhance her skills, Lita enrolled at Ryerson University's Early Childhood Music Education Program, thus becoming one of the earliest to receive an Advanced Certificate in that program. She also took studies at the Royal Conservatory including Music & Movement and Carl Orff.
Continuing education and professional study have always been part of Lita's routine, squeezing every opportunity into her busy schedule to attend various music courses, master classes, workshops and seminars. At the Royal Conservatory, she took special studies in piano pedagogy under Marina Geringas and attended classes by Boris Berlin and Andrew Markow. As a firm believer of Dr. Suzuki's philosophy, Lita continued on with various Suzuki Teacher training. She attended summer institutes at Guelph University, Queen's University, and Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied under Peggy Swingle, Valerie Lloyd-Watts, Doris Koppellman, and Francoise Pierredon, among others.
In 1994, Lita joined the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association (ORMTA) Etobicoke-Mississauga branch where she has been a consistently active member. She lectured on the Suzuki method in a membership meeting, assisted and actively participated in many committees and activities, served as Publicity Chair and member of the Executive for a number of years. As President from 2002 through 2004, Lita strengthened internal membership and raised ORMTA's visibility and stature in the community with a string of successful activities. Her term as President enjoyed support from the business community, even getting a generous cash donation, thus solidifying the branch financial condition. She still sits in the Executive and serves as representative to both Mississauga and Etobicoke Arts Councils. For 3 years, she has arranged for ORMTA members to play at Mississauga Art Council's Christmas Marketplace. Many of her students have benefited from ORMTA as participants in Assessments and winners of Scholarships. Lita consistently sends her students to competitions and music festivals in the Region of Peel and City of Mississauga. She is proud of her long list of winning students.
Lita's style of teaching piano benefits from the best of the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and Suzuki worlds. Putting into practice the philosophy of nurturing students with love, and applying all her training, Lita has gained the love and respect of her students. Many parents and students have written letters of thanks and appreciation, sent accolades from far-away places, and even composed poems about her. In her newsletter, Quarter Notes, Lita encourages parents and students to use their music education to instill self discipline and self respect, to respect everyone for what they are, and to strive to become good persons. In one article, she wrote:
"I am aware that I have an influence on the lives of my students…….. I feel a sense of responsibility but at the same time I cherish and treasure the relationships I've gained with them. I hope this relationship will continue to crystallize their interest in music as they move on through life and thus enjoy music as a Gift for a Lifetime. Indeed, I am blessed with this golden privilege to guide my students and help them, through music, become happier individuals"