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MM, The Juilliard School, Jazz Studies
BM, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jazz Performance
2019 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, The Kennedy Center
2017-Samuel L. Jackson Jr. Scholarship, The Juilliard School
Chris is a saxophonist, composer, and educator based in New York City. Originally from North Carolina, Chris has performed with groups all over the east coast, in styles ranging from jazz to R&B, folk, gospel, and country. He can be heard frequently as a sideman in clubs in the NYC area such as Fat Cat, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Rockwood Music Hall, Blue Note Jazz Club, Zinc Bar, and many more. He has also performed internationally with his quartet at the Bern Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzerland. A recent Juilliard graduate, he has had the opportunity to play alongside jazz greats such as Jimmy Heath, Bill Charlap, Jon Faddis, Rodney Whitaker, Etienne Charles, Aaron Diehl, Donny McCaslin, and many more. He is currently working on composing new material to perform with his own quartet and is busy with numerous other projects.
I’ve taught private students off and on for over 7 years, and regularly for for about 3 years. I got serious about teaching when I was in the masters program at the Juilliard School. I’ve only ever taught saxophone but I am proficient at the flute as well.
I have been a featured guest clinician at high schools, as well as a volunteer at elementary schools in North Carolina where I am from. My mother was a third grade teacher and every year I would put a band together and perform music for her students.
I have played all over the east coast in a wide variety of musical settings and genres. I have opened for the legendary George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic in Roanoke Virginia, and I play regularly at some of New York City’s finest jazz clubs such as The Blue Note NYC, Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Rockwood Music Hall, and many other venues in NYC. I am an avid composer and I lead my own ensembles where we perform my original music. I have also been featured on several records as a sideman. I am currently in the process of recording my debut album as a leader.
For beginning students who are children, I typically start with Hal Leonard's Essential Elements. Once the student has progressed to have a grasp of the fundamentals, I will begin to introduce solo repertoire appropriate for their first recital performance. For adults, I try to find out what the student is interested in, and guide my instruction accordingly to keep the lessons engaging and fun, no matter their ability level. I have a unique process when dealing with students because I didn't study privately until I got to college. I taught myself for so long, thus giving me a different outlook on how to improve when in the practice room.
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing one of my students develop a passion for music! Therefore, it's important that each student progresses at his or her own pace. I encourage this by setting realistic goals for my students at each lesson. Acknowledging accomplishments helps fuel a students desire to progress, and makes students eager to learn more. By trying to find out what inspires the student, I can successfully tailor my instruction to their wants and needs. I encourage freedom in the lessons, whatever the student is interested in is what we will work on, so long as it is something that will lead to improvement.
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