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BA, Wesleyan Univeristy, Music with Honors (2004-2008)
MA, University of North Texas, Ethnomusicology (2016-2018)
PhD candidate, University of North Texas, Ethnomusicology (2018-present)
2017 Travel Grant Award - Funded research for a paper presentation at the 2nd Kwame Nrkumah Pan African Intellectual and Cultural Festival at the University of Ghana. 2008 Brodigan Award - Funded trip to help construct the Unity Ecovillage near Cape Coast, Ghana. 2007 Dana Grant - Funded internship at the University of Ghana where I was able to study with the master drummer of the Ghana Dance Ensemble.
I have a lifelong passion for music, with my passion being in drumming and percussion but having a great deal of experience in trombone and a strong knowledge of guitar as well. I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2008 with Honors in Music. I have just recently traveled to Ghana for a 10-month trip to study traditional drumming, Afrobeat drum set style, and more. I also traveled to Ghana in the summers of 2007 and 2008 on grants through Wesleyan allowing me to study traditional drumming more in depth from master drummers there. I am currently accompanying West African and Modern dance classes at Wesleyan University, teaching students privately in drums/trombone/guitar, and playing drums for a few bands and projects and for musicals throughout the year.
I have been teaching students privately for over a decade, starting with teaching trombone in high school, continuning with drumming students in college, and teaching professional-leve drums and percussion, advanced trombone, and beginner guitar students. My primary passion lies in West African music, and I really enjoy bridging cultural gaps in my teaching. At the same time, I am rooted in American jazz, western classical music, and rudimentary style drumming. The combination gives my students a solid foundation in western technique and theory but with an approach that is out-of-the-box and multicultural. I have an extreme level of patience and have worked with all ages, from preschool to adult, and all abilities, including students with autism and hyperactivity. I am happy to take on any student and will make progress with any age and any level!
For students who are young with no musical background I start with the Essential Elements series. At the next stage, I challenge the student based on their interests. I tend to push students to learn jazz, as its the basis for all drum set playing, but know that most kids are more interested in other more modern styles and accommodate them accordingly. I have a number of books that I can draw from, including Jim Chapin's jazz book, Syncopation, New Breed, Buddy Rich's book, and many more.. I like to mix in learning by listening, playing, and repetition along with standard music skills like reading music and notation. This lets younger students get into playing sooner, all the while making sure the students learn the standard music notation.
I try to keep things lighthearted and fun, but also demand a lot from my students and hope for regular practice to push them to new heights. Music is fun, but with hard work the lessons will pay off with the reward of improved music ability. I always incorporate music that the student is interested in and challenge them to be able to play their favorite songs. I tailor my lessons to fit the needs of the student, and cater to all different types of students. I have a lot of experience teaching students with learning disabilities, particularly autism and attention disorders.
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