2014 – Spring UK tour including two sold-out concerts at iconic London venue the Roundhouse.
2013 – Collaborator & featured performer in Bloo Voyage installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Blues for Smoke exhibition
I am freelance woodwind instrumentalist and teacher living in Brooklyn. I believe that my unique approach to teaching, which combines an emphasis on reading skills with a focus on ear training, is ideally suited to creating a new generation of passionate, skilled and interesting young musicians. I am committed to creating an environment for learning to hear and create music in new ways that is as productive as it is engaging.
I have been teaching music lessons, both on a freelance basis and at the Laconia Music Center, since graduating college in the Spring of 2009. I have also been playing woodwind instruments in a professional capacity since that time. My work as a performer informs my work as an educator and vice-versa. I am afforded the great luxury of musical dynamism by living in New York City, and I am as comfortable in a jazz club as I am reading classical music, or in the horn section of a funk band. I expose my students to the rich mixture of musical styles ever-present in New York, and seek to impart on each of them not only qualities of general musicianship which carry over from one idiom into the next, but also a thirst to hear more styles, which will inevitably lead them to build styles of their own.
I believe that in order to engage a student in the learning process, goals must be clear. I begin by asking new students what they want to learn. Many students are not sure what they want to learn, and this is to be expected. In this case, some trial-and-error is necessary; if a student is bored by Bach, maybe it’s time to see how he/she can relate to learning a simple tune by ear – maybe a jazz tune like “Summertime,” or maybe the latest single on the radio. The next step is to assess abilities. I evaluate reading skills, listening skills and theoretical knowledge. Once we have a solid concept, it’s time to move forward and create a plan to work toward the goal. Normally this strategy is quite effective in motivating students to improve – finding what they connect with, and helping them to connect with it.
Musical education should be as exciting as it is rewarding. I believe firmly that building a solid foundation in ear training, rhythmic consistency and theoretical knowledge is the surest way to motivate the type of practice that leads to improvement. My aim is always to make students self-sufficient in discovering, analyzing, performing and writing the music that they find most interesting. My students know that lessons with me are the best time to make their worst mistakes, and to achieve their greatest successes – and that they’re free to smile the entire time. By learning to walk this thin line, they grow intellectually and spiritually beyond their imaginations.