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Master of Music in Conducting - Southern Oregon University, The American Band College
K-12 Certificate in Music Education - University of Nevada, Reno
Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance - San Francisco State Unversity
De Anza College - Music Major
Summit Brass Seminar Full Scholarship
San Francisco State University Performance Scholarship
De Anza College Chamber Orchestra Soloist Scholarship
I came to a life in music through the music of my neighborhood, church and public education. My first experience with a Brass instrument (after displaying a woeful lack of aptitude for the clarinet,) was with the Trombone. Unfortunately my arms weren't long enough to get the slide to the lowest positions on the slide, so my teacher gave me cornet to try, a day or so later I could get a consistent sound. Band classes (10), Mariachi (13), Marching and Pep Band (15) were my first performance experiences, not subtle, but we all start somewhere. While in High school, I played in a Drum & Bugle Corp., Eb cornet in a college marching and played Lead trumpet in a college Big Band & the San Jose Earth Quakes band. In college I decided on a life in music as a studio trumpet artist. I performed as a member of Mariachi, Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop, Rock, Recording, Show Bands & Theatre Orchestras, and, have been fortunate to play with some of the people whose musical styles I admire and emulate. From Ray Charles & Sinatra to Boz Scaggs, The Moody Blues and the band Yes. Still...I began with Band classes like nearly everybody else. Until High school it was a cool, fun class with concerts to get a grade. At 25, I began a career as a French Horn player. I studied with members of the San Francisco Symphony, Ballet and Opera as well as fine players across the continent. I've built a broad range of classical and orchestral experiences through the "Big B's" Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok, Bernstein & Bates, and the music of their contemporaries, to, performing National and World Premiers with the "Stars of the Peking Opera", Frank Zappa's orchestral/ballet and the hometown (Reno) composer, Mason Bates. Chamber music (small group) is what gives me the most satisfaction in playing and performing. In orchestral music, every wind player is a soloist. As a chamber player, not only is everyone a soloist on their part, but, the musical demands of being a rhythmic, melodic and harmonic foundation for each others' primary voice are broader, deeper, more technically challenging, and, can be truly intimate and immensely expressive communication. The Brass Quintet introduced me to Chamber Music. I enjoy immensely, the opportunity to play in small ensembles of any voice/instrument combination. My wife Carol and I formed the Pacific Brass Quintet (San Francisco, Ca.), the Grand Canyon Brass (Flagstaff Az.) & The Harbinger Brass (Reno, Nv..). Currently Carol and I play in a Brass Dectet (4,1,4,1,). In addition I am currently; 4th Horn with the Reno Phil and AVA Ballet, Rotating Horn with Toccata (Tahoe Region Orchestra & Chorus) and I perform with the Reno Pops Orchestra. I am a founding member of The Eastern Sierra Horn Society and the Reno Horn Club, and, I play the Alphorn for fun and profit...RicOla
In Middle school, I began tutoring classmates in mathematics and realized the importance of making the intangible, accessible and that not everyone will innately use the same approach, method, process or visualization to arrive at the solution. In High school I tutored German and Casteon, and it became obvious that "How" we hear is extremely important to "what" we hear, and, are able to replicate. In college, I tutored Music Theory and Voice class which broadened my awareness of what other people want to do and get out of the musical efforts and experiences. And deepened my empathy for the range of expression and feelings in the interpretations of others. While studying with Mr. Claude Gordon I began giving private lessons to student brass players. Their immediate improvement and success in class, concert, honor ensembles, and as student soloists prompted offers to teach Bands and Drum & Bugle Corp. horn lines before my 20th birthday. And expanded rapidly into coaching a broader range of ensembles and and a waiting list for lessons. For a decade had studios in San Francisco and Silicon Valley before leaving the S.F. Bay area. For twenty years I served as a public educator teaching some, K-5 music, 1st year band and middle school orchestra. Most of my duty load was as a first year String Orchestra teacher. When I came to the district it was titled Strings class. Branding the class as a String Orchestra in addition to learning a new instrument, gave an added measure of expected accomplishment through the year to many students. I've had the pleasure of having dozens of my students join me on stage in the the Reno Phil, The Reno Pops, and the Toccata Orchestra. I continue to coach student ensembles, give masterclasses, organize "Horn Days" in the Reno area as well as studio teaching.
My fundamental philosophy is to provide each student with a methodical approach to achieving, developing and maintaining a well balanced set of skills. Beyond the technique of how to make "your best" sound, and the efforts to build skills, I make efforts to instill the concept of "Procedural Memory" in creating, developing and expanding a "complete sense of flow in playing." Have a plan and always play musically. It's "HOW" you practice that counts! My practices educating the player are founded on building a routine that addresses the current and future demands in skills appropriate to the age, experience and goals of the player. The methodologies I prescribe as elements of a routine, come from all of my colleagues through the decades, players teachers and students alike. I will use any solution I have experienced, seen, or believe will work for the student that "adds or fits" into their approach to playing. We can use any resources you have that can attend to the technical elements or musical demands that you are working toward. If you prefer we can employ any edition of the "Grand Methods" of the 19th & 20th centuries as well as contemporary publications. As a Brass Pedagogue I prefer to have students employ the Claude Gordon Method series and the ancillary books by Arban, Brophy, H.L. Clarke, Gatti, Irons, St.Jacomes...I can always send you pages of things you need.
When curiosity in people is nourished, it blossoms in ways beyond what we imagine for ourselves. Creating passions for a lifetime... a seed to others. A student's curiosity, learning style and needs are the primary factors in my approach to a students. My having respect for their interests and curiosities is essential to our communicating to each other, "where do we want to go, how do we get there, and what do we want to experience along the way." I'm also looking... a desire achieve... a commitment toward excellence... and, for a sense of humor. After all this has to have some fun it too. Determining the range of an individuals learning styles and how they operate allows me to better gauge their needs and accomplishments. whether I should be quite literal, or use analogies, metaphors and similes. Knowing a students aural depth helps me guide listening. An idea of kinetic aptitude and tendencies helps me construct the "procedural memory" of playing efficiently. Being aware of pattern recognition & visual acuity gives a baseline in reading skills along with horizontal and vertical range of focus. Awareness of each of these strengths and weaknesses give me the broadest possibility of reaching the student is as many ways as possible. This takes opportunity and time. I'm always looking forward to feeding curiosity and guiding someone to a path for successful learning and playing.
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