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Masters of Fine Arts, California Institute of the Arts, Jazz Drums
Bachelors of Music from California State Fullerton , Jazz Trombone
John Phillips Sousa Award
Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
My music is an explorative collage of rhythm and harmony that incites emotion, creating a wild and memorable experience for listeners. I source inspiration from an array of influences, ranging from Miles Davis, to The Beatles. My musical pieces are born during a 3–4 hour session at the piano, and refined through excessive scribbling, and endless rehearsing.
In the past year, I have expanded my professional development to work as an educator, and a scholar of music. Alongside CalArts colleagues, I was employed as a citizen artist with Americorps, teaching students beginning music at Dorsey High School in South Central, Los Angeles. Following this, I was invited to participate in a summer program at the beautiful campus of Ravinia, Illinois, where I worked with jazz artists Billy Childs, and Rufus Reid.
After I first received my Bachelor's Degree from CSU Fullerton, I opted to showcase my original music through distinct outlets. One of the resulting projects, themattsmithneujazztrio, has recorded three full-length records; my other project, JUICEBOX, has recorded two. I gained a masters of music in jazz drum set from California Institute of the Arts, where I was honored to record my own composition for the CalArts, 30th Annual Jazz CD at Capitol Records. I have gotten to study with the famous Joe LaBarbera, Randy Gloss, Ari Hoenig, Duncan Moore and Joey Sellars.
At our first lesson, we will dive into what YOU want to learn. It's my job as a teacher to facilitate a creative and challenging learning environment, but it's up to you, the student, to make the time we spend together something you would like to work on. I'm confident that we can both find common ground to stand on and find some great music to explore. Beginners will always use some sort of method book, learn to read music and rhythms. Advanced students will learn out of books as well but I also like to teach more conceptually as well.
I approach teaching in layers. Step one leads to step two, we cant skip steps! I find it important that for beginners we follow this structure. More advanced students will be on a case by case basis in regards to where we start. I emphasize imprivisation in every lesson weather it be on drums, piano or trombone. Playing music right off the top of your head, and in the moment is something you can't learn out of a book! Lastly, try and make every lesson fun but I expect every student to practice the materials I give them in order to keep our lessons moving forward.
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