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Bachelor Degree: SUNY Empire State College
Course Work: Berklee College of Music
SUNY Empire State College Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence in the Arts, 2014
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Performance Grants (2) 2010
I’m a skilled, enthusiastic teacher with years of professional teaching and performing experience. I’m an established jazz artist in NYC, and I compose and arrange for my own band in addition to performing as a side-person with other musicians. Recently, I performed with my band at The Blue Note Napa in California, and you can also find me at jazz venues throughout NYC as well! Through music, I’ve had the opportunity to perform both nationally and internationally. I enjoy many different types of music, and am stylistically very versatile. Some of my favorites include Brazilian, Latin, classical, Broadway and musical theater, and popular music. In addition to attending The Berklee College of Music, and completing my degree at SUNY Empire State College, I’ve been lucky enough to have studied my instruments and composition with some musical “greats” like Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Jim McNeely, Lyle Mays, and more. I used to write a monthly column in “Saxophone Journal,” where I was able to share my insights with other woodwind players. I work at a variety of NYC schools as a teaching artist, and also see students at my home studio.
I’ve been teaching since I graduated from college. As a student, I attended the Jamey Aebersold summer jazz workshops, and was subsequently trained by Mr. Aebersold on how to specifically teach jazz improvisation. I became a teacher at his workshops and have since taught at many others. In 2001, I began teaching at Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY, where I taught private lessons to both classical and jazz students, lead jazz ensembles, and conducted ear-training and composition classes. I taught piano and recorder for over 10 years at Church Street School for Music and Art in Tribeca, and have worked as a teaching artist with The New York POPS since 1992. Currently I’m coaching a jazz ensemble at an NYC public middle school and am working with kids that might not have the resources to study privately. Over the summer, I worked at a summer program with some special needs kids where I created and implemented a music appreciation program. I really enjoy bringing music into people’s lives, and an always amazed at what my students can accomplish!
When I first meet with a student, I usually try to get a sense of their ability level, goals, and the styles of music they enjoy. Since everyone is unique, I tailor my lesson plans to each individual. I can help with planning a practice routine, and with selecting music that is interesting, fun, and hopefully a bit challenging (because that’s how we improve)! I will recommend method books, and music books, and write a clear practice schedule at every lesson, and will look for ways to keep my students motivated. I like to think that my teaching style is “holistic,” as I approach working with my students from a variety of angles. Over the years, I’ve created many different ways to communicate and coach both technique and repertoire, and I really try to find the best and most effective ways to work with each individual student. Music should be something that brings happiness into one’s life!
When I work with a student, I like to think of myself a motivational coach. I like to share the excitement of every new discovery and accomplishment! When working with younger students, I make sure that the lesson is interactive and fun, while giving clear instructions. Having a sense of humor is also a great motivator, as well as keeping in mind the child’s age and attention span. When working with older students and adults, I like to suggest practice materials that are interactive as well. Currently Hal Leonard publishes a huge catalogue of “music minus one” style books with styles ranging from Broadway shows, jazz and pop, to classical repertoire. There are accompaniment tracks online which can be played at different tempos so you can practice slowly and gradually speed up the tempo. Concurrently, if a student is interested in studying jazz improvisation, there a many tools and techniques that I use to help them get started, and to improve their skills.
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