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I have a vibrant personality and I love teaching, especially when it comes to helping students grasp things where traditional teaching methods have proved to be intimidating or unaccommodating. I have performed in a variety of ensembles and have produced multiple volumes of my own compositions. My musical background is rooted in jazz, funk, soul, and latin music, and my teaching method will tend to emphasize "grooves," with a special eye toward harmony, syncopation, comping, and improvisation.
Recently I was hired as piano instructor for Quartertonez Music, in Washington DC.
Also, I have had experience teaching and studying music education under my high school mentor, renowned music teacher Tim Savage; I was his student-teacher for a semester course at St. Lawrence University. Additionally, throughout my experience as his music student, his teaching approach has infused music education and facilitation lessons within the musical instruction itself.
My past teaching experience also includes being a Drill Instructor for the Italian Department at Vassar College for two years during my time as an undergrad (I not only "ran drills" for students who had already started learning the material, but also had to compensate in a variety of ways for the unsuccessful, dysfunctional, or half-hearted engagement that is typical in a foreign language class). I mention this because I believe there are structural flaws (which often end up dissuading students from pursuing study further or with much focus, dedication, or enthusiasm) held in common by traditional education in language and in music. Over the course of my personal progression I have been studying how to subvert and overcome those impediments more easily.
My teaching methods focus on building on the fundamentals of embodied proficiency with music (not just how to "read what's on the page", but first how to feel and delve into what's happening with all the moving parts and their many relationalities). For both children and adult students, before getting into structures and representations, the starting point will be the embodied feelings and experiences of and around music. In the first lesson, even my absolutely-beginner students will be having fun jamming, exploring and applying newly-learned things before we even talk about what a major scale is. Later on, students will learn to read music in-depth--not merely replicating what's represented on the page exactly as-is, but with a broader and deeper understanding of the movements and relatativities taking place within the music, while building an ability (and feeling of mobility) to experiment with re-harmonization, substitutions, and alterations of all sorts.
Especially at beginner levels, students often are flooded with an endless stream of lifeless representations, scales, formalities, technicalities, and special names, and as a result, their interest becomes stifled. "Music" comes to mean a drab exercise with an authority figure instead of the rich, profound, imaginative, vibrant, feeling, potent, and meditative social being that it can be. My approach actively tries to preserve and cultivate the original passions of music that lead students to seek lessons in the first place. The material we focus on (which also serves as the vehicle for learning about music-in-general) will be determined foremost by the students' interests.Students who are especially conducive or committed to book-learning and linear structure will be accommodated as well, and we will be largely centering Mark Levine's model.
My approach seeks to breathe air under the wings of the students' interest and attention by making them a constant starting point, while also laying the groundwork of introspection for students to develop and apply their own practices of learning, exploration, and innovation going forward. My teaching methods focus on considering embodied experiences of music, as well as a range of philosophical considerations. Students will be encouraged to think about how feelings, subjectivities, sounds, and spaces interact in complex ways, along with a series of other metaphysical questions that I believe are essential to a holistic praxis of understanding and learning music.
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