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BM, University of Kentucky, Music Performance (Percussion)BM, University of Kentucky, Arts AdministrationMM, Northern Illinois University, Jazz/World Music
2011 - Performed with University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in Keeneland's 75th Post Time with the Pops
2012 - Two-week residency at Dagbe Cultural Institute in Ghana, West Africa
2013 - Performed with the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago with guest artists Bob Mintzer and Wycliffe Gordon
2011/2014 - Performed with the University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble in a Showcase Concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference
2015 - Performed with birdsong Steel Orchestra at Panorama in Trinidad, West Indies
I am a passionate musician and performer, and that passion is met with an equal passion for passing on the knowledge and inspiration I have had the opportunity to gain to others. I am a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky with degrees in Music Performance and Arts Administration and am now working on a Master of Music with a focus on jazz and world music at Northern Illinois University. I have had many invaluable opportunities so far in my life, but a few that stand out include opportunities to study and perform overseas (West African Drumming in Ghana, Steel Pan in Trinidad) and opportunities to perform and work with artists such as Jeff Coffin, Bob Mintzer, Wycliffle Gordon, Brad Dutz, Chris Wabich, Liam Teague, and many others.
I began teaching private lessons 6 years ago, primarily teaching drum set, and continued to have students on and off as some of my students from my home town would take lessons seasonally when I was not at school. I also have worked as a battery and front ensemble technician at various high schools in Indiana and Kentucky, co-ran a World Percussion Camp at Central Music Academy in Lexington, Kentucky for two years, and have been brought in on multiple occassions as a guest lecturer/clinician for both West African drumming and dancing as well as steel band at the collegiate level. I have learned quite a bit from my teaching experience, but there are two things that consistently hold significant importance to me. The first is that every student is unique - no two students, no matter how similar their interests, should necessarily have the same curriculum or be taught the same way. The second is that every student should be constantly feeding their passion(s) - not every step of learning and improving always feels fun at the time, but if the student has a chance to be passionate about what they are doing, even the most difficult work will feel purposeful and rewarding.
As I mentioned previously, I find it very important that every student be approached from an individual, customized standpoint. However, I do find it important that every student has a strong basis in fundamentals and sound quality so that they have a strong foundation which they can then build upon. For beginning students, I will typically start them with rudiments and eventually work them into a mix of published and improvised solos to foster both technical progress and artistic creativity. For intermediate-advanced students, I like to evaluate this foundation first and isolate weaknesses and help fuse them in with their strengths over time while continuing to feed whatever passions have gotten them to whatever point they have reached up to that point.
One of the most valuable things I learned from Jim Campbell, my main professor/teacher/mentor during my undergraduate career at the University of Kentucky, is that a great teacher does not necessarily need to have already mastered the art form themselves - in fact, as it is said that the best leaders are great followers, I strongly believe that the best teachers are great students, even in a private lesson setting. I have been fortunate to learn more than I ever thought I could by this point in my life, but I am still eager to learn more, and I strongly believe that giving my students the chance to teach back what they learn helps them understand information and skills significantly better than they would otherwise, boosts self-confidence, encourages independent study, and ultimately helps them retain what they have learned better than many other approaches. I also strongly believe in the power of performance and having the opportunity to share what you learn and enjoy with others, so depending on the age I always strongly encourage finding performance opportunities of any kind, playing/practicing with friends, studying abroad, etc. However, as I said, every student is different, so these approaches have to be flexible in order to successfully accommodate my instruction to each individual student.
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