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-New England Conservatory (NEC)—Master's Degree in Jazz Composition received in May of 2015. -California State University, Northridge (CSUN)—Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Studies received in May of 2011.
-Commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony to compose an original piece for jazz big band (2015); premiere scheduled for March of 2016.
-Performed and recorded on "American Idol," "The Voice" and NBC's "Hollywood Game Night" (2012-2013).
-Awarded the Ted Greene Memorial Scholarship and Outstanding Student Award by the CSUN Music Department (2009 and 2011, respectively).
Born and raised in California, I grew up in a musical family. My father, a singer/songwriter and guitarist, always encouraged me to sing, compose and just make music no matter who was listening. I started trombone lessons at age 13, and immediately fell in love with the art of jazz and improvisation. As a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, I was met with opportunities to travel the world playing music at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy and the Kurashiki Music Festival in Japan. As a Jazz Studies major at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), I placed in the college's Jazz "A" Band, which won 1st Place in its division at the Next Generation Monterery Jazz Festival. During my time at CSUN, I also began to write and record music for jazz big band. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I began playing my own songs and compositions at live music venues and was often hired to play on live television series. When I attended New England Conservatory (NEC), I started writing songs with original lyric, as well as pieces for strings and many combinations of woodwind and brass instruments. As an NEC graduate, I still explore writing and playing in many different styles and genres.
For seven years, I have taught private trombone lessons in cities as far away as Los Angeles and as close to home as Boston itself. Although my primary instrument is trombone, I am able to teach lessons in composition and arranging, and can work with beginning piano students. I also use the piano as a tool for developing consistent tone on the trombone, and to teach ear training and music theory. I have seen tremendous musical growth in my trombone students, no matter what age, skill level, style, or experience. As a teacher I am also learning, and I love learning how to improve my students' experience with studying music.
For beginning trombone students, I start by introducing the student to the basics: the mouthpiece by itself. Getting comfortable with producing clear, sustatined tones through the mouthpiece is the key to producing smooth, gorgeous melodies on the whole trombone. I start the first 10-15 minutes of every lesson just on the mouthpiece, and then have the student play unmeasured sustained notes (called "long tones"), exploring the range of the instrument. Once the student feels comfortable with the mouthpiece and the long tones, I acquaint the student with fundamentals such as the positions, partials, scales and different types of articulations. For intermediate and advanced students, I focus on repertoire. Applying practices similar to what I have described above, I work with the student on playing repertoire with expression and facility. First I introduce them to short melodies that excercise skills in articulation and phrasing (called "etudes"). Then I take a look at what they might be playing in—for example—their school concert band, orchestra, jazz band, theatre pit or anything else they are involved in. Learning how to apply the skills developed through etudes is essential for playing repertoire with excellence.
Every student is different, so I do my best to nurture musical growth and development at a pace that is feasible for each student as an individual. No two lesson plans are identical. Based on how confident the student feels with the prospect of moving onto the next level in their studies, I begin to assign goals for the next lesson. The size of those goals will vary depending on the skill level of the student, as well as how confident the student feels. Although I strive to make sure the student is not intimidated or discouraged, I always make sure to push them to different lengths they may not have been to before, so they can see how far they have come and how much they can acheive!
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