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Eagle Scout Award
RAHS Music Department Music Educator's Scholarship Award
I'm a teacher and performer in the Twin Cities. Before the pandemic, I performed frequently around the cities with the Roseville Jazz Trio, and I am currently teaching young students virtually. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I picked up percussion in 2011 and since then I've studied music under Warren Starr, Matt Dehnel, Ian McKnight, Michael Zimmerman, Joe Churchich, Wes Ruelle, Eron Woods, and Pat Moriarty. I began composing in 2018, and since then have written an array of works for small jazz ensembles. I began studying conducting in 2019 with Matt Dehnel and Warren Starr, and I organized and directed the first ever Maternity of Mary Saint Andrew's Summer Band Program as a part of my Eagle Scout project. I am currently studying music at St. Olaf College under Steven Amundson, Sarah Burk, Phil Hey, Timothy Mahr, Matt McClung, and JC Sanford.
I began teaching younger kids in early high school, and have been teaching ever since. Students are able to start learning percussion with just a pair of sticks, a practice pad, and a book or two, and can get started in piano with a decent keyboard. Many students are scared away when they look at the price of a full drum set or a piano, but a music education can easily be accomplished with a tight budget! I've found that getting the proper equipment is a big setback for a lot of students just starting out, so helping families find the right gear is usually a big part of the first few steps. After a student has what they need, we can take off from there!
For percussionists and drummers starting out, they'll start with just a practice pad and a pair of sticks, and the first "Alfred's Drum Method" book. From there, after a bit of progression, I'll add material based on the student's interests. For starting pianists, I'll start with the first book in the Essential Elements "Piano Theory" series. These books tend to move quickly, so it helps beginning students get a lot accomplished right away. Then we can start to dig into whatever music the student is interested in. If a student already has made some progress on their instrument, we'll spend some time just playing, getting to know the student's level, before we create a curriculum based on their progress so far.
I like to get students playing actual music as soon as possible. Many students start taking lessons and are discouraged by the cut-throat nature of focusing on technique for so long. Students should be playing actual music, not just exercises and drills, pretty early on! For percussionists and drummers who only have a practice pad, this seems pretty impossible, but getting a student jamming along with their favorite song for the first time is always an incredible thing to watch. For pianists, learning melodies by ear of songs they're familiar with and playing along is a fulfilling experience and even develops a great ear and musical sense. I try to end every lesson with activities like this, and encourage students to have fun with them in their own practice time, especially when the drills and exercises start to get frustrating!
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