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BM, William Paterson University, Piano Performance GPD, The Peabody Institute, Saxophone Performance
2009 -- William Paterson University Merit Scholarship 2011 -- Performed at Smoke Jazz Club for the first time 2011 -- Performed at Harlem Gatehouse 2011 -- Performed at the Highline Ballroom 2012 -- Graduated from William Paterson Magna Cum Laude 2012 -- Performed at Smalls for the first time 2013 -- Performed with Jean Michel Pilc 2013 -- Performed with Bill Goodwin 2014 -- Peabody Institute Full Scholarship awarded on merit 2015 -- Attended the Banff International Jazz Workshop 2016 -- Performed with Ralph Peterson 2016 -- Performed with Gary Thomas in the Pariah's Pariahs ensemble to be released as an album 2016 -- Graduated from the Peabody Institute 2016 -- Performed with Tyshawn Sorey's Conduction ensemble at the Stone 2016 -- Released my own debut album, PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
I'm a multi-instrumentalist who's been performing on piano since I was 14 back in my hometown of Austin, Texas. In 2009, I moved to the east coast to continue my education at William Paterson University. Over the years, my teachers have been instrumental in my success, and I strive to pass the lessons I received from them on to my own students. Those teachers have included Alex Bohrer, Paul White, and Jeff Hellmer in Texas, Vincent Herring and Harold Mabern at William Paterson, Gary Thomas at Peabody, and many others. Over the years, I have performed at many of the top Jazz clubs in America including Smalls, Smoke, and the Kitano in New York City, Chris' Jazz in Philadelphia, An Die Musik and the Hopkins Club in Baltimore, Twins Jazz in Washington, DC, The Bop Stop in Cleveland, and The Elephant Room in Austin. Other notable venues I have performed at include the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, and The Highline Ballroom and Harlem Gatehouse in New York City. Notable musicians I have performed alongside include Ralph Peterson, Jean Michel Pilc, Andre Hayward, Bill Goodwin, Gary Thomas, Paul Bollenback, Alex Norris, and Bruce Saunders.
I first began teaching while still completing my Bachelors degree at William Paterson in 2011. Most of my students were beginning level piano students, but I had a few more advanced students as well as some people studying saxophone with me. My teaching philosophy is to combine teaching the technique of an instrument with learning songs as well as theory and improvisation/composition. Everyone learns technique, but learning music that I wanted to learn, learning how those songs were written (theory), and eventually elaborating on those songs (improvisation), and writing my own music (composition), was what really got me deeply engaged in the act of practicing and making music, and I have found over several years of teaching that it keeps my students engaged and enjoying the learning process.
I should start off by saying each student is unique, and since the lessons are one on one, my approach to each student will be unique. That being said, there are certain skill-sets and areas of focus that every student should learn. For complete beginners, I start off with technique. What is good posture? What is good hand position? How do you form a proper embouchure and produce a supported airstream? From there we learn simple songs -- sometimes by ear, and sometimes by reading music (both are valuable skills to have). From there we learn how those songs we learned are built. This is the theory part. Once a student has a rudimental understanding of theory they can begin to compose their own songs! When this is done spontaneously people refer to it as improvisation, but don't let the names fool you. Composition and Improvisation are closely related. Each step along the way has its own relation to the musical fundamentals of melody, harmony, and rhythm. As opposed to a teaching style that just emphasizes getting students to play the right notes at the right time, my goal is to go beyond just the technique and get my students to truly understand and appreciate music.
I structure my lessons in the same way I structure my own personal practice. I usually start off with a few technical exercises, then cover some theory, and then work on repertoire. How much time goes in to each category will depend on the student. A beginner tends to need more time on technique, whereas someone who has an audition or recital coming up will spend most of their time on repertoire. I constantly emphasize how the different aspects of music reinforce each other. For example, learning scales can help with technique as well as theory. Certain songs might be technically challenging, or contain specific chord progressions that will help someones understanding of harmony.
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