My Education Accolades and Experience
I attended Messiah College and received my music education degree in 2014 while concentrating on saxophone. I spent most of ‘06 through ‘12 performing wind band and jazz music on bass clarinet and tenor saxophone, respectively. Prior to college, I played piano for nine years and bass guitar for five in my old church’s youth band. I also sang in my high school choir, performing in numerous competitions and venues such as Carnegie Hall. In my spare time in Boulder, I play acoustic and electric guitar while using a loop pedal and other small percussion instruments.
My Approach to Teaching
Everyone is different, which means teaching everyone will always have different outcomes. However, everyone has music and the ability to perform in them. When my students want to embrace the saxophone, flute or clarinet to its fullest potential, I tell them to consistently keep air, tone and technique in their mind when learning a new concept. Each of these aspects rely on each other (and the greatest of these is air)! Do you take in a big enough breath every time? Does what you’re playing sound pleasing or grinding? Are you relaxed enough to perform with agility in your fingers and tongue? Everyone has the ability to get these fine motor skills to synchronize and perform and communicate musically and beautifully.
One of My Practice Techniques
Bring every challenging piece of music down to slow bits and chunks, and your brain will process how to execute it with ease. We can envision the final product of what we’re learning will sound like, but if we can’t put together the pieces, it will sound as weak as the foundation. Take each measure (or two measures maximum), begin playing it slowly, and repeat. When you’ve played it well, increase the tempo slightly. When that bit or chunk is brought up to speed, sounds excellent, and maybe have it memorized, do the same with the next problematic part of the piece. This is the brick and mortar of being able to convincingly perform any kind music in a captivating way!
Favorite Four Songs in Different Genres
- Pop: Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles
- Classical: Sonata Pathetique - Beethoven
- Jazz: Fly Me To the Moon - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Electronic: Touch - Daft Punk
“And from that day on, if I was goin’ anywheres, I was running.” -Forrest Gump
How I Started Playing Music
I began playing music in 3rd grade on viola, when there was an instrument rental fair at my school. The next year, I picked the alto saxophone and began playing piano. I played little league baseball through 5th grade before I picked up tenor sax, bass clarinet, handbells and bass guitar in middle school. My first few private piano lessons on piano only consisted of playing the two black keys C# & D#, and I couldn’t make a single sound (or squawk) on saxophone until my second lesson! If it hadn’t been for music, maybe I’d be playing for the New York Yankees, but I wouldn’t share my musical talent for anything else and can’t fathom what my life would be like without music.