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BSE, Tulane University, Engineering Physics
Downbeat award for “Best High School Blues/Rock/R&B ensemble in the nation” (2010) Kent Denver senior award for Excellence in Instrumental Music (2010)
I'm a creative and eclectic musician who also happens to be an engineer. I believe teaching is it's own art and offering kind and encouraging instruction is one of my passions no matter what subject or age of student I'm teaching. I've gone in radically different directions in my life, through many periods where I would practice several hours a day while in college I barely played at all due to the difficulty of my engineering coursework.
Drums are my favorite instrument to play and I approach music trying to understand how all the instruments fit together. I was classically trained on violin from the time I was 6 years old and have since taught myself drums, guitar, electric bass, vocals, ukulele and some piano. I see now how all the instruments are related. They all share the same scales and notes and theory, and if you want you can play any music on any instrument. (There's nothing wrong with playing heavy metal on a ukulele or violin!). I play many instruments because I love them to the point I have no desire to choose between them, and I encourage my students to play as broadly as they are interested in!
I've been teaching for about 10 years, since my friends started asking for lessons and I noticed I was always willing to let others try my instruments in a way I see other musicians often are not. I have a very childlike sense of creativity myself, in that I am constantly trying new things and not afraid of the initial phases of learning something when you are so-called "bad" at it. Of course I am not skilled at things I have not practiced! There is no shame in beginning something as an adult and surviving the initial stages of cultivating a skill, in fact it takes a lot of courage and is something to be proud of.
I began playing violin when I was 6, and stopped and switched to electric bass when I was 15. A year after that, I started playing drums and knew I had found my main instrument. I began playing guitar and singing a few years after that and then in 2016 I found a book of jazz standards that I discovered could be played on violin and fell in love again. Drums, violin and guitar are my favorite instruments to play now as well as singing, and I play bass and piano more casually. I am always exploring new instruments (I would like to learn trumpet when I decide to make some time to practice!) and gear such as loop pedals and electronic aids. I have an electric violin and am starting to learn punk and irish music on that.
The first question I have for anyone of any age is, what do you want to learn? Adults often have a clear idea of what they hope to learn, and for that I have many books and methods I recommend for different instruments and styles. I am going to suggest a very different set of books for someone who wants to learn to play country guitar and sing versus someone who wants to play speed metal, and then a different set of books for someone who wants to be a jazz drummer.
For children who want to play violin and piano, I start with the suzuki method and try to find some music that they will identify with, like disney music or the soundtrack to frozen. For children who want to play guitar, I start by teaching them the essentials in person and giving them notes to practice from (Names of strings and chords, strumming patterns and music reading). Once they have progressed past the basics, we will find beginner jazz or rock or whatever instructional books are appropriate.
I often hear younger musicians say, "I want to know everything!". As someone who plays violin, guitar, drums, bass, ukulele, piano and sings in styles from funk to jazz to Irish to classical to country to hip-hop, I can identify with this desire a lot! I also wanted to know everything for a long time. But wanting to do everything means that your practice never gets narrowed down to the specific thing you want to do. Do you want to play electric guitar in a rock band? Acoustic guitar and sing in the park? Play drums in a jazz or funk group or in a brazilian music ensemble? The first step to learning is for us together to identify the specific thing you want to do, and then pick songs to learn that will be achievable and also challenging and interesting to learn, and most importantly, that you will enjoy the process of improving. If you can see every day that your practicing is pushing you in exactly the musical direction you want to go and you can feel your vision coming closer and closer, you won't want to stop!
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