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After thirty years I still love to play and talk about music! I've added more instruments to my skillset over the years just so I can write and create more music out of my home studio. I just released my first album, Influenced, in 2017 and for the first time will be performing music from the album at Denton Arts & Jazz! My first professional music job out of high school was in the Army band where I spent four years playing my trumpet and seeing the world. After that I received a bachelors degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and then a masters degree in trumpet performance from the University of Texas at Arlington. I keep a busy schedule as a freelance musician and perform regularly with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. I also do the occasional the tour with different groups. One of the highlights of my career so far has been headlining with The Polyphonic Spree at the Marvin Festival in Mexico City in 2016!
I started teaching guitar lessons in 1999 (20 years this year!) Since those days I've gotten two degrees and taught at colleges, and private institutions, as well as high school and middle schools. I've found that combining textbook music instruction along with learning to play some of the music the student is listening to keeps them growing and engaged. Most importantly it makes learning music fun! I love jazz and I encourage efforts of composition and improvisation to help the student take ownership of the notes they're learning.
Most schools use the Hal Leonard Essential Elements and I tend to focus on this method as supplemental instruction but other methods are fine as well especially if the student is already working through a particular method book. For young students I encourage a mix of formal music instruction with music the student enjoys. Nothing unlocks a love of learning like discovering how your favorite music works! Adult students are welcome to tailor their lessons to their musical goals whether that's learning Bach or Breaking Benjamin!
I believe in learning the fundamentals but I believe that experience should be enjoyable. That's why we "play" music in the first place! This can mean different things to different students but a focus on positive reinforcement and encouragement toward specific musical goals will always be the guiding factor in my approach. I also encourage students to take ownership of the musical skills learned by experimenting with composition and improvisation. It's one thing to learn Mozart but an entirely different experience when you create your own masterpiece.
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