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BM, Berklee College of Music, Songwriting, Piano Principal (Summa Cum Laude)
New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA)
Piano: Level 6 - 92, 93, 100
Voice: Level 6 - 98, 99, 100, 100
French horn - Level 6 - 98
New York State Conference All-State
New York State Band Director’s Association
-Participated in an All-State Level band on French horn.
American Choral Director’s Association
-Participated in a chorus ofthe top singers ofthe Eastern US.
National Catholic Youth Conference
-Performed in the Sprint Arena in Kansas City. Sang multiple solos for over 25,000 people.
Concert of Hope-Created, produced, directed and performed original compositions in a cabaret-style event that raised over $3,000 for breast cancer research.
I began learning piano at the age of three. My dad is a band and chorus teacher and didn't consider it an "optional" skill. I actually learned to read music before english! (I was confused in kindergarten when I found that the alphabet went past G!) Music has been an integral part of my life since then with my elementary and high school years filled with festivals, concerts, auditions and competitions. I then went on to get my Bachelor's degree at Berklee College of Music. I am currently working on my Master's Degree in Composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and hope to pursue my Ph.D in Composition afterwards.
I began teaching as soon as I could. My dad held piano lessons out of our house and inspired me to teach guitar (the only instrument my dad wasn't terribly good at). I also taught trumpet, French horn and piano throughout high school. When I got to college, no one at Berklee really needed lessons in instruments anymore, however, I spent a lot of time tutoring kids in Music Theory, Arranging and other more technical aspects of music.
My dad employed a very competitive method on me and my siblings when teaching us piano. And although it worked on me, it caused my brother to quit piano. I have learned through my teaching experience that some students need a push and some need a pull. Every student is unique. I admit that I am the most successful with a competitive method. The "I bet you can't play that right" method. I find that it drives the student to learn the instrument for himself. And as the student wants, more and more, to prove that he can "beat the instrument," he begins to work at it in ways that I can't teach. Learning an instrument is more than showing up for one hour each week. Practice is everything. I feel that my methodology encourages students to take on the instrument head on and learn how to solve problems on their own so that they can practice and improve more quickly. That being said, I am capable of kindness and I am very perceptive to when a student needs a "good job," rather than a "try harder."
My lessons are very structured, but within the structure is a lot of freedom. An hour long lesson might look something like this: First 10 min.: Warm-ups, discussion about posture, hand position and muscular/skeletal health while playing. Next 10 min.: Performance of previous weeks assignments, with discussion about whether preparation was adequate, what was missed (usually dynamics and other articulations) and what could be done to improve. Next 10 min.: Based half on performance and half on my own ideas, work on a number of techniques to strengthen the weaknesses the student is facing. This could range from working on a particular scale to solidify thumb crossover, to working on the use of a pick on guitar. Next 10 min.: Discuss assignment for next week and choose songs that would be beneficial. Assignment usually consists of 1 technical work, 1 musical work and 1 free choice. Next 10 min.: Monitored practice time. This a chance for me to see how the student is practicing when I'm not there and correcting mistakes before they can become habits. Usually involves forcing student to use a metronome, teaching the student to slow down when a piece is too difficult a tempo, and making sure the student is addressing problem areas of a piece rather than starting at the beginning every time. Last 10 min.: Improvisation. This covers a broad range of subject matter. It might involve me playing something like chords while the student improvises. This is a chance for me to try and hear the student's natural musical voice. I also use this opportunity to explain to more advanced students, which scales can go with which chords. This includes pentatonic scales, blues scales and for the most advanced, different modal scales. For a shorter lesson, usually these would be cut relatively. For 30 minute lessons (which I don't recommend) certain steps get combined which gets the job done, but not in the most ideal manner.
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