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SphinxConnect 2019 Fellow
I am a passionate performer, student, and teacher who loves to play the trombone and sharing my musical discoveries with all those I come across. I graduated with my Master of Music degree in Trombone Performance from Boston University in 2018. I have had the opportunity to perform all over the United States through my involvement with DCI and as a freelance musician. Performing across the U.S. has been an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience as a musician, and I’ve had the opportunity to play sold-out shows in venues from the Hollywood Bowl, Lucas Oil Stadium, to Symphony Hall in Boston.
My teaching experience goes back to when I started my undergraduate studies at Cal Lutheran. I began taking on students from my high school simply as a way to give back and help students with upcoming auditions. I made it a point to develop a consistent practice regimen consisting of warm-ups, fundamentals, and solo work. I had been self-taught up until my undergraduate experience and I also made note to learn to play along with music that wasn’t tailored to the trombone such as hip-hop, r&b, and literally anything else that came across my ears. As I began my studies in Boston, I was fortunate enough to be dropped into a network of talented and supportive musicians who threw work my way simply because I learned to say, “Yes:” to every opportunity. I used this exposure to learn to play a wide variety of styles and I utilized my self-taught background to learn on the fly. As I took on new students I used a blend of my experiences to nurture a musical curiosity and let them take risks and find their individual sounds. If anything, I make it a point to listen to anything and everything, and to always be in pursuit of making the sounds in their head become a reality!
For children (beginners), I start with the foundations of trombone playing. I typically start without the instrument at first and focus on breathing, posture, and building muscle memory with slide positions. With intermediate to advanced students, I like to focus on the theory/science behind trombone playing. With a major focus on fundamentals, I build upon the student’s foundations and help to finesse the way they hear their sound in accordance with other players. I make it a point to focus on ear-training and learning to play with their imagination so that students can learn to trust their ear and be a proactive musician rather than reactive. As far adults are concerned, I truly am more interested in what their goals are as far as learning to play the trombone. Once a goal has been established then I can tailor my instruction to meet their needs in a way that in engaging and conducive to learning to play.
I find that it is important that each student realizes that progress comes at different rates for different students, and that’s perfectly natural when learning! As an instructor I do my best to meet my students half-way and my hope is that students try to also. Every time I pick up my horn, it is my goal to begin stronger than when I left the day before. Each lesson begins and ends with a verbal and self acknowledgement of “discoveries”. They can span the range from learning a new scale to realizing that they need to clean their horns more often. I also try my best as a teacher to acknowledge growth and get students excited with every single discovery. I have found that as musicians, we are our most critical and brutal critics, so I make it a point to allow students the opportunity to celebrate their own triumphs no matter how big or small. That being said, as much as I try to push students to break new grounds each and every day, I have realized over the course of many years and many teachers that some lessons are better taught when a student is left to play with no interference. Some days are harder than others and it can be incredibly helpful to play a piece, song, or étude to open ears and be left to play with one's own imagination in a creative space.
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