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Cal Poly Pomona, Music Composition
My first love is drums, but playing piano gave me a different kind of joy. Learning drums at 11 and piano at 15, studying Music Composition at Cal Poly Pomona, I found I had different experiences with each instrument. I was the drummer for the band Euforia and enjoyed the performance aspect of playing this instrument. Whereas, on the piano, I played more often for churches, and saw that as utilizing that talent for God. Currently, I'm helping a local church playing piano and drums (when they're short a drummer), and I'm the lead singer for a band called Just A Theory. Having been a part of this band has been really cool because we've used this group as a platform to help the homeless, by having our fans bring food and clothing to our shows. It's been very nice to see people willing to do what they can to help those who are in need.
Seeing people pick up an instrument and learning to create music has always been really cool. I learned to play the drums at age 11, and after taking piano classes in high school, I went to Cal Poly Pomona to study music composition. It was during this time that I began providing lessons in both instruments to students of all ages. The best part for me is always that moment when it clicks with the student. It no longer merely a discipline, but the foundation is set in which the creative element of the student can build. And to me, that moment is magic, and as an instructor, there's no better moment.
For beginning piano students, I start them with a variety of materials, beginning with John Thompson's piano books, along with stanzas of finger exercises to develop dexterity. But more importantly for me, is that I understand that people, especially now, want to start playing songs as soon as possible. So, I immediately teach them chords and scales. Weekly, I introduce a new one so they get comfortable and then get them used to moving from chord to chord. With drummers, I teach the rudiments and start with the snare, but I get them on the set as soon as possible.
My teaching style is informal in that the lessons are challenging, but the delivery is casual. It's important for me as a teacher to relate to the student on a personal level, so that I understand what the student wants to do and the direction and path they'd like to take. To see the student progress is most important, but to understand the best method to encourage the student is the primary function of the instructor. Being at the level of instructor, mentor and supporter is only going to be possible if the student has your trust that you have their best interest at heart, and that comes from being able to relate to the student at their comfort level.
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