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BA in music.
Suzuki Certificate Books 1-4
Born into a musical family, violinist and fiddler I began studying classical music under his father at the age of five. Drawing on influences as diverse as rock, jazz, classical, country, and Indian music, Ben’s technical prowess and improvisational ideas give him a truly unique and fascinating musical style. Having studied under several of the world’s greatest musicians and educators(Dr. Yusef Lateef, Dr. Karaikudi Subramanian, Steve Coleman, Julie Lyonn-Lieberman, Will Taylor, Martin Norgaard), I haveBen has incorporated a variety of innovative concepts into both his playing and pedagogical strategies, the result of which is a truly holistic approach to music. After spending my youth studying in the Suzuki method and giving solo and orchestral performances, Ben began to experiment with other genres of music during his teenage years. In 1997, he received a scholarship to study at the Brhaddvani Center for Music of the World in Madras, India. In 2000 I studied performing and arranging with the Turtle Island String Quartet, and composition and improvisation with Dr. Yusef Lateef. Between ’01 and 03, I performed throughout South America with The Lima Jazz Quintet and The Benjamin S. Quartet. Between 2003 and 2009, I was based in Austin where he performed and recorded with dozens of artists throughout Texas and the United States. These have included Leo Stokes and the Grifters, Matthew Ballard, Pieces of East, Hunky Dori, Ross Brunner Band, Johnny Lyon, Quartet Felix and The Fountainhead Ensemble. In 2007, I received a custom-built 5 string fretted violin from luthier Mark Wood in New York. The unique features of this fine instrument helped propel Ben into new improvisational territories and allowed him to expand his bepop and fusion vocabularies. In 2009 I began performing original material with the Austin based electric instrumental band Brainworm, which appeared at the SXSW music festival in ‘08, and also released the live LP “It’s Sucking My Will to Live”. In 2009, I traveled to Colombia where he formed the Benjamin S. Quartet, which featured some of the finest musicians in that country and was showcased at the at first annual Festival de Jazz in Barranca, Colombia. In 2010, I released an album of self-composed works entitled “Luxon/Helix”. Over the past decade, I have compiled dozens of recording credits, given hundreds of performances, and conducted workshops and clinics for aspiring string students worldwide. Now based in New York, I maintain a full roster of students, and can be seen performing within a variety of musical genres throughout the city.
I have been teaching using the Suzuki method for more than 20 years. I love working with young kids because I understand the value of introducing them to music at a young age. They will become fluent in a musical language that they will carry with them throughout their lives. For more advanced students, I enjoy the challenge of training them to produce a professional quality sound when they play advanced repertoire. For older students, I try to introduce non-classical styles such as bluegrass and jazz. I use these as vehicles to learn music theory and improvisation.
I draw heavily on the Suzuki method when I teach. For young beginners this means a lot of ear training using singing, recordings, and games. For young students, I ask a parent to be involved in the training so that they can help the child with practicing. The key to young beginners is making everything fun and not going too fast. Through repetition, they learn skills and develop confidence by experiencing success at every stage of the process. By making learning fun, practicing won't seem like such a chore, and they will be able to grow love music very quickly.
My lessons with young beginners tend do be focus on very specific skills. For instance, a 7 year old book 1 student learning "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" will do exercises focusing on bow holds, violin posture, tone production, bow distribution, and articulation. She will sing each phrase of the song, and clap the rhythm of each phrase of the song. Overall, it is this incredibly detailed approach that facilitates excellence as she moves forward. I focus on the learning process, because if you know how to learn, you can apply the process to any discipline, not just music.
So far so good!!! Thank you Ben!
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