Introduction: I am an experienced teacher and performer on Saxophone, Flute, and Clarinet based in the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley region. I tour and play locally with bands and artists of many styles including modern jazz, swing and classic jazz, R&B/soul/funk, and pop. I also have a lot of experience playing in musical theater productions, including Off-Broadway in NYC, as well as classical music training and experience.
I have taught for over 12 years and have proudly witnessed my students achieve their goals such as being accepted into competitive high school programs such as LaGuardia High School, earning distinguished ratings at state solo and ensemble festivals such as NYSSMA, and becoming stand-outs in their current school music programs.
My musical journey began like it does for many of my students, when I joined the school band in middle school as a child in Georgetown, KY. I was immediately attracted to the saxophone, realizing its capacity for deep emotional expression and its presence in many styles of music beyond classical. After a few years, and on the advice of my own mentors, I took up the flute and clarinet in order to broaden the scope of my musicianship as I was already setting my sights on a career in music. I earned my Bachelor of Music degree in 2009 at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I played in classical and jazz ensembles and took lessons on all of my primary instruments. After college I gave a go at my lifelong dream of becoming part of the music scene in New York City. I earned my Master of Music degree at NYU where I focused on modern jazz and improvisation, and made many new connections that helped me establish myself in New York. I gradually formed a rich and diverse musical life with my friends and colleagues old and new, which continues to the day.
Music and Language are deeply intertwined within the human mind. Many researchers believe the abilities that enable us to learn language overlap with those that allow us to enjoy and create music. We learn language in a number of different ways as we develop; exposure to sounds as an infant, experimenting and improvising with them as a toddler, grammar classes, reading, and writing as a school student, and with immersion and everyday practice throughout our lives. We also know that language is not just about the words and sounds we make but is molded by history and culture.
I extend this language metaphor to my music teaching for students of all levels, being aware that an approach that works for one student might not be the best for another. There are some concepts that are possible to learn just by hearing and repeating, while others need to be worked on with lots of repetition and practice, some others need to be thought through over the course of some time. My years of experience teaching students of varying ages on many instruments combined with my own experience of learning music from a number of differing perspectives gives me a large repertoire of approaches to draw on when teaching. Immersion, most of all, is key to fluency in music just like any other language, and I provide that by playing along with my students as much as I can, informing them about the history and personalities behind a style or concept, and encouraging students to listen to and appreciate a wide variety of music.