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MM, William Paterson University, Jazz Studies & Arranging, 2011 BM, Berklee College of Music, Performance, Magna Cum Laude, 1998
DVD – “Quincy Jones: 50 Years in Music – Live at Montreux 1996” – Eagle Rock Ent. 2008
LP – Akihiro Yamamoto’s Archi-tet – “Red Blankey” – Qualia & Company 2013
CD – Selen Gulun – “Just About Jazz Live” – DMC Jazz 2004
CD – Oguz Buyukberber – “Canli” – Ada Muzik 2003
CD – Tolga Tuzun – “Nix” – Kalan Muzik 2001
I am a jazz musician and composer at heart. The woodwinds (saxophone, flute, clarinet and ewi (Electronic Wind Instrument)) will always be my main performing instruments. Although my journey into composition and teaching has given me practical experience on many other instruments as well, so that I am a competent player and teacher for beginner and intermediate students on piano, guitar and electric bass. Sharing music with others, with an audience or with an eager student, is a magical and rewarding experience that I cherish. I’m happy to say that teaching and performing music has taken me all over the world.
I began teaching woodwinds when I was 18 while attending Northern Illinois University. I would help junior high and high school students in the area in private lessons. At age 23 I began teaching music courses at Istanbul Bilgi University, in Turkey. After leaving Turkey in 2001, I have focused on private lessons, teaching students of all ages and ability levels. I have been fortunate enough to perform with many incredible world-class musicians such as Quincy Jones, Phil Collins, Tito Puente, Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, Toots Thielemans, Paquito D’Rivera and Gerald Albright.
I use what some have called the “target approach.” With this method you are working on one concept at a time, and you should always have one concept in mind while you practice. Some examples of beginning concepts are 1) keeping a steady beat, 2) sound quality, or 3) smooth finger technique. In one practice session using the “target approach” you may spend 10 minutes on target 1) and 15 minutes on target 2). What is important, however, is that you continue to work on a target every day until you find yourself performing that single concept flawlessly and effortlessly. When you find yourself day dreaming while playing a concept perfectly, you know you have hit your target!
You can learn so much about a student in a 30 minute trial lesson! If a new student is not a total beginner, I will ask them to play their favorite song (or one of their favorites if they have trouble choosing just one). After their performance, I ask them what they liked about how they played. It’s important for students to always be aware of what they do well. If they aren’t able to see their strengths on their own then I share with them what I think their strengths are and encourage them to keep that up. Then I ask them what they would have liked to do better. Students who understand that they should be their own teacher do best in the long run. This is especially true when we ask a student to practice alone six days a week, and the teacher comes only once a week.
I was so nervous being an adult beginner. Mike is so patient and puts students at ease. He also has taught me more about music than I learned after studying piano for years. I absolutely would work with him again and suggest him to others. Amazing!!
Excellent teacher. He's a sax instructor but knows guitar fundamentals very well. We've been working on learning the fundamentals of guitar playing and it's helped me grasp it much better. Wish I had done this a long long time ago
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