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I started playing the saxophone at the age of seven. Having an incredible middle school band teacher, I was drawn to teaching at an early age. In 2001, I completed my student teaching at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in I K-12 Instrumental Music Education. I have taught students in various music classes, mostly band and music technology, in alternative, independent, and public schools for 15 years. In addition to teaching, I am a professional musician. I founded and play baritone saxophone in The Jazz Conspiracy Big Band, a professional swing dance band in the Pittsburgh area.
I am a PA licensed K-12 Music Educator with current clearances. Having taught in various public and private schools for 15+ years, I have a great deal of experience working with students of all ages and at all levels of knowledge and skill. I have taught students in band, orchestra, music technology, general music, and AP music theory. My primary instrument is the saxophone, which I have played for 35 years. In addition to full-time teaching, I have taught students privately since the age of 15. While the majority of my private teaching has been on saxophone, I've also taught students the clarinet, flute, piano, and trumpet. Lastly, with a degree in instrumental music education, I received pedagogical instruction and basic proficiency on all band and jazz instruments, including 4 semesters of piano and 2 semesters of percussion.
As I have taught many students on many different instruments, my focus has been on providing students with a firm foundation, including proper posture, breathing, embouchure, technique, and pitch/rhythm literacy. I have found great success in using the Essential Elements method books, and eventually move on to intermediate and advanced methods, focusing on etudes, scale studies, and solo repertoire. Beyond a traditionally classical approach, I believe strongly in listening to my students to realize what they desire to learn. Many students are primarily interested in learning the jazz style, including improvisation, which includes a great deal of listening, transcribing, and practicing of patterns/riffs. If a student is more interested in learning pop songs (on ukulele, for example), I focus on chords, chord progressions, and strumming patterns.
Students will not continue studying, practicing, and performing if they don't enjoy the lesson experience and relationship with their teacher. Learning happens most meaningfully and rapidly (not to mention is sustained) when students connect with their teacher, and that most easily occurs when teachers are in tune with their students' interests and goals. As a former music student who sometimes had very little input in what I learned on certain instruments, I remember the boredom and sometimes dread on the lesson day! Asking my students questions, listening to their answers and interests, as well as providing positive and constructive feedback nurtures the students' love of music and their instrument.
Dan is a talented and wonderful music teacher. He is patient and kind. He taught my daughter trumpet during 7th and 8th grade. She had never played before. Not only did he teach her the basics, he instilled a love of music. Now she is in high school band and excelling!
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