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Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Music, English, Suny Stony Brook, 1984.
Art Students League, 1985-1988.
Master of Fine Arts in Painting, SUNY New Paltz 1993.
Working with novice piano students, I usually employ traditional method materials like Bastien or Thompson if the student is a child, and Alfred for adults. Though it is rare, and usually at the insistence of a parent, I can also use these methods with beginning guitar students. For advanced students, whose aim is to broaden an already substantial aquaintance with theoretical and compositonal studies, I use the "Guitar Grimoire" series by Adam Kadman. I regard these books to be the best ever written on the subject.
My approach to teaching varies in accordance with a student’s playing level and needs. With beginners and young students, experience has taught me that it is best to get someone playing actual music as soon as possible, usually in the first lesson. It is just as well to have a student begin by learning a simple riff from a song that they like, as to make them learn some hokey melody from a “one size fits all” how-to book.Going forward, I continue to work with a new player on music that they would like to play, while simultaneously covering music theory, and technical information, as they relate to the choice of repertoire. A student will always learn technique and theory on a much deeper level when it is taught in conjunction to music that they like, rather than as a separate academic study. This method maintains a students interest as well.With regards to advanced players, I find that the problem is rarely how to play, but rather what to play, or what NOT to play. This is usually best solved by helping a player to re-examine his or her approach to applying what they already know. This can involve a better grasp of theoretical issues as they apply to specific musical styles, and also to questions of general artistic understanding.
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