Meet Jeremiah Oliver, an accomplished pianist and composer who moonlights as a French teacher at Fluent City.
What inspired you to start teaching French?
The words we use—both in our heads, and out our mouths—create the experiences we have in life. Knowing another language offers unique insights for each person into their own lives and how they perceive the world. Helping people access that information is exciting and transformative, and one of the main reasons I love teaching.
What is your favorite thing about teaching at Fluent City?
Meeting so many interesting people—I meet students who have many reasons to want to learn French as well as other teachers and staff, whose focus on providing opportunities to understand and experiment with language in real and supportive activities inspires me.
What fun hobbies do you have outside of teaching at Fluent City?
I’m a classical pianist, folk harpist, and composer. I love the French romantics/impressionists; Chopin, Debussy, Ravel. I’ve also played a few brass instruments over the years. In addition, I’ve worked with lots of different vocalists and voice teachers—I like to make sounds, and talk about how they’re made (which can help with perfecting accents). On weekends, I enjoy having dance parties in my living room (by myself).
Do you have a favorite app or tool your recommend to students to complement their studies?Wordreference is my favorite online dictionary (also available as an app for phones and tablets). Most entries have examples, which can be critical in French, as accurate usage of all the little words are what create the feeling of fluency. Duolingo is a great tool for practicing, as it provides repetition (the heart of language acquisition) for free [Repeat everything! Be the awesome person on the subway who mumbles at their phone!]. Often the biggest obstacle to fluency can be remembering specific vocabulary—duolingo helps. Also, Téléfrançais on YouTube is a ridiculous(ly fun) way to interact with French. Who doesn’t want to speak French with a pineapple?
Where is your favorite place to find French food in New York?
My kitchen. My grandmother’s crêpe recipe soothes my soul. But if I want a croque madame, Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill.
Do you have a French recipe to recommend?
Yes, but baking is hard. Much easier to go to a pâtisserie for your éclairs—or a bistro for a croque madame.
Crêpes are attainable for those who, like me, are culinarily inept, though.
Can you recommend a French film?
Amélie – because French (romance/sensibility/fantasy).
L’auberge espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) – about finding yourself through losing yourself.
Tous les matins du monde (All the mornings of the world) – about the musician Marin Marais, in the time of Louis XIV.
Finally, what is your favorite French word?
Pamplemousse. Because it’s fun to say. And once, when I google-imaged it in front of a class, the first results were [awkwardly/disastrously] not fruit.
Interested in teaching with Fluent City? Check out fluentcity.com/teach to get started!