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Master of Arts in Education
Bachelor's degree in Psychology
currently pursuing Tam Tam Mandingue certification in djembe and dunun
I have been passionate about music my entire life. I’ll never forget when I sat down to play drum set for the very first time as a kid and floored my parents. It came so naturally, I started playing funk, and they immediately bought me a drum set. I have since learned guitar, ukulele, and for the past decade or so have played traditional West African djembe and dunun (see the video). I am most passionate about continuing the tradition of West African polyrhythms, so I am most eager to teach djembe. Of course, I just want to help YOU reach your musical goals whatever instrument that may be. NOTE: djembe can be loud, so if you prefer to use your space for lessons (fine with me, I have a car) make sure your neighbors are okay with it! I am currently in the process of obtaining my teaching certificate for djembe through Tam Tam Mandingue Chicago, and would love to have you be a part of that!
In addition to countless public performances in coffee shops, at the beach, full moon jams, and the like, I have been a substitute teacher for my instructor at the old town school of folk music over the years. I’ve also successfully taught individuals on both drum set and djembe on their way to pursuing becoming instructors themselves. With drum set, I have been in numerous bands and have played gigs in various states. As far as other instruments including the guitar and ukulele, I just think they’re awesome and I play them at home whenever I get a chance! having started on violin when I was six years old, I was first chair second violin throughout high school. Therefore, I can assist you in being able to read music as well. I am also currently using a music app (FL Studio) that has allowed me to create trap beats and back beats for songs I continue to write.
As a former Chicago public school teacher, I understand the importance of meeting students where they are at. Therefore, regardless of whether you are a beginner or not, I always begin by determining your level of skill and, combined with your goals for learning that instrument, create a lesson plan that you feel comfortable with before pursuing it. In particular, with djembe, it is important to be able to understand the balance and interaction between all of the instruments. As a result, I highly encourage my students to spend time listening to traditional rhythms so that they may understand the feel and the cultural significance of each rhythm. Rhythms in West Africa are played for every single significant event, including baptisms and weddings. Therefore, a large part of my teaching will entail understanding the cultural significance of the rhythms we are learning. Of course, none of this matters if you aren’t having fun. So you can expect lots of that as well!
I have loved teaching ever since I was young. Both of my parents were educators before retiring, and whether it was math or science, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the lightbulb go off in my students. I feel as a teacher, it is vital to focus first on the foundations that will later create more success, especially those that are necessary for truly understanding that instrument. Once those are established, I then focus on weaknesses, where practice and diligence become important. Of course, that also depends on what the goals of the lesson are.
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