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B.S, SUNY New Paltz, Jazz Performance In progress: M.A, SUNY Purchase, Entrepreneurship in the Arts
2016 - Curated solo recital of modern jazz pieces both composed and arranged for 6 piece ensemble 2016 - B.S from SUNY New Paltz 2017 - Release of debut album "Datura Road" funded through Kickstarter 2017-2018 - Attended annual Arabic Music Retreat and engaged in private study in NYC
I'm a dedicated multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who believes in empowering students to write original music. I have a B.S in music with a concentration in jazz performance from SUNY New Paltz and I'm enrolled at SUNY Purchase in their Entrepreneurship in the Arts M.A program. I sang in a church choir for most of my youth and I originally played trombone and bass before switching to guitar in high school. I gig continuously throughout the Hudson Valley and regularly attend various musical retreats to study with great teachers and expand my knowledge base.
I've taught a few students over the years and had good experiences. I stepped away from teaching to prioritize my studies but I've started to get back into it in the past year. While fundamental exercises are necessary, I feel it is equally important to give students material that engages them naturally. Making a direct correlation to the music they like already allows students to appreciate the technical aspects and motivates them to apply themselves in a consistent manner. I also believe in exposing students to different styles of music. This wider perspective fosters appreciation for other types of music whether it be classical, rock, jazz, or even African guitar styles. It also allows them to develop a more well rounded technique on their instrument and be more flexible in a performance situation.
I always ask students to play something for me before doing anything. After gauging where they need to start I physically show them exercises and provide them with supplemental written material to work on in between lessons. This can be sheet music, chords charts, scales, or verbal directions. For more developed students, I have a variety of guitar, piano, and drum workbooks to dive into and create material from. Working from a variety of sources helps keep things fresh and challenging. Further down the road we may do some listening during the lesson and analyze different aspects of the music.
My style is very student centric. I don't believe in introducing a curriculum for its own sake. If students aren't interested there is no point in teaching. For me the best way to engage students is to get them applying things they learn to create musical ideas of their own. This was one of the most empowering feelings to me when I was first learning and was what motivated me to keep learning. While it's hard work at first it eventually pays off and gives students a more intuitive understanding of their instrument. Singing examples when possible also trains students ears which will make everything they do musically easier as time goes on.
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