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Master Degree: Temple University
Bachelor Degree: Howard University
I'm a driven musician and educator who strives to use my gift to make a positive difference in the lives of my listeners and students. I studied (undergrad and graduate respectively) at Howard University and Temple University, two wonderful urban campuses. I have been blessed to spend years cultivating my style and technique in the authentic music scenes of these cities. I have had the opportunity to perform in venues including Blues Alley, Chris's Jazz Cafe, South Kitchen and Jazz Parlor, The Kennedy Center, and The McCarter Theatre with artists such as Tim Warfield, Warren Wolf, Chucho Valdes, Akua Allrich, Braxton Cook, Khary Abdul Shaheed among others.
I have experience as a private instructor beginning with my time in Washington, DC as a student at Howard University. I have run instrumental petting zoos/clinics at local schools and have assisted with doing sectional work with an extra curricular jazz band at Temple University. I believe that a teacher must be flexible in their approach, passionate in their respective craft, and unwavering in their commitment to engage each student. A flexible teacher can establish a clear methodology for instructing their class room while being open to adjustments. In the case of music, this could be missing instrumentalists, inconsistent skill levels amongst the players, or disinterest amongst the students. A passionate teacher can draw out interest and work ethic from any student if they can convey that they are eager and excited to be in the classroom, sharing their craft. Lastly, the best teachers do not give up on students who are having trouble or proving to be difficult. An unwavering teacher will make sure that even the weakest member of their class is learning and growing.
I believe in tailoring music lessons to the individual students needs. This usually involves speaking with the student in the first lesson/lessons to find out what specifically they want to learn or improve. Once I've figured this out, I begin to find repertoire or create exercises that challenge this student in the respective area of focus. With younger students, I prefer to make an executive decision to begin with method books and then ease into more relevant material when the student is comfortable with their instrument. I enjoy the Hal Leonard Essential Elements books for beginning pianists and George Vance's "Progressive Repertoire for Double Bass" for young bassists.
I believe the role of a teacher is to provide a framework or organized system of progress for his/her student. A teacher is not simply someone who orders and dictates; but someone who can stimulate their student’s growth in whatever their field of study is. Particularly in the case of music, a teacher’s number one duty is to show their student how to practice efficiently and thoroughly. They help students to progress quickly by pointing out which areas of their playing need improvement and what to focus on. I believe that learning is both an internal and communal process. Every living being has the potential to learn to do amazing things or acquire incredible skills. However, to learn something means to make it apart of oneself. In the case of music, many a jazz musician spends years trying to memorize a plethora of songs. The irony is that without having someone to play with and truly experience the music making process, the musician will never internalize what he or she is learning. An ideal teacher is able to provide a student with a sense companionship as well as instruction throughout their learning endeavors.
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