BA, Skidmore College, Music (Honors)
MA Florida State Univ, Classical Guitar Performance
MA, Florida State Univ, Music Theory
PhD, Louisiana State Univ, Music Theory
Nothing makes me happier than having the opportunity to share my love of music and guitar. Upon graduating from Skidmore College in 2000, I was accepted to Florida State University to the classical guitar program under the study of Bruce Holzman. I feel my decision to simultaneously work towards two masters degrees speaks clearly for my motivation and passion towards music. While I focused on music theory/composition for my PhD studies at Louisiana State University, I continued performing newly composed works by graduate composers for the instrument.
With my educational background and passion for music it would be difficult to find another instructor with more depth. I have taught guitar for over 20 years to students ranging in ages from 6-60. I have performed with and coached multiple bands, ensembles, soloists, and private students and I have loved every minute of it. In my experience I have found that, with the right instructor, exploring a wonderfully dense topic such as music heightens discipline, motivation, focus, confidence, and sensitivity.
When a beginning student pushes a key down on the piano, sound comes out… this is unfortunately not true with guitar. In the beginning it can be quite challenging for students to use their left hand to guide the right finger to the right string to the right position on the string while simultaneously using their right hand to guide the pick to the right string and plucking it – and this is all for one note! But once this stage is mastered, things become much simpler. I start off lessons slowly with simple technical studies where the student can focus specifically on technique to efficiently and confidently. To help support this stage I typically introduce basic note reading skills to acquaint the students with musical notation while introducing them to playing in time. Once the student reaches foundational proficiency we can finally start to have some fun! Based on the students musical interests/level of proficiency we can begin to incorporate learning riffs/excerpts/songs of the student’s selection. From here I will guide students through wherever they want to go as guitarists and musicians.
I love to have fun in my lessons. No single student understands the same thing the same way so I take the time to listen/understand them as a person and as a musician. While it would be wonderful if all of my students became virtuosi musicians, I understand that sometimes math class may be at the forefront of their attention. That said, practice is still required. Like a doctor, I prescribe solutions to students to help them achieve their goals and will do everything I can to help them to succeed – but if they don’t take the remedy, success is can be quite slow. I use frequent realistic review of student goals/performance to help them maintain a continuous path towards achievement. If the student is younger, I believe constant communication with parents is the key to students getting all they can out of their lessons.