My Education Accolades and Experience
I received my Bachelors Degree in Trombone Performance from the Penn State University, my Masters in Performance from the University of Miami, and am currently trombone lessons as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Colorado Boulder where I am pursuing my Doctorate in Trombone Performance and Brass Pedagogy. My teachers have included members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Colorado Ballet Orchestra, and the Woody Herman Big Band.
Outside of my formal education, I have been a freelance trombone player and music teacher for nearly 10 years in the towns of Pittsburgh, Miami, and Denver. My teaching experience includes private lessons with middle and high school students, undergraduate music majors, and weekly group masterclasses at the Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts in Florida. My students’ accomplishments include selections for All-State bands, orchestras, and college music programs.
As a performer, I have been fortunate enough to play with ensembles such as the Brass Roots, Henry Mancini Institute, New World Symphony, Ft. Collins Symphony, and world class musicians like Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, Wayne Bergeron, and Joseph Alessi.
My Approach to Teaching Trombone Lessons and Trumpet
No two students are alike. With Trombone lessons we all have different goals, experiences, strengths/weaknesses, and ways we learn. My aim is to help every student as the individual that they are, and to encourage and motivate them in the pursuit of their personal goals. The best way that I’ve found to aid in that effort is to just listen to them. Listen carefully and pay attention. After that, things are relatively straightforward. If I can take the time I have with a student, get them one step closer to achieving their goals, all while fostering a love and appreciation for music, I consider that a great success.
One of My Practice Techniques
Listen, and listen a lot! To professional recordings for references and just fun, but also to yourself. There is no substitute for recording yourself practicing. It is often very difficult and humbling to listen back to your playing, but above all it’s extremely educational. The nice thing is that it’s never been easier, now that we all have smart phones or laptops within arm’s reach.
As brass players, it also offers an opportunity to rest your face as you listen back and critique what did (or didn’t…) go according to plan. This can certainly be tough to do, but recordings rarely lie. Listen carefully to what you did, and go back and make it a little bit better over and over again. There’s likely no better use of your time than to thoughtfully record as you practice.
My Favorites in These 5 Styles
· Rock – Chicago, The Rolling Stones
· Pop – Paul Simon, Earth Wind & Fire
· Jazz- J.J. Johnson, Dexter Gordon, Duke Ellington
· Musicals – Stephen Sondheim
· Classical - Johannes Brahms, Ottorino Respighi,
How I Started Playing Music
My first experience playing music was at about the age of 9 when my parents signed me up for piano lessons. Though short lived, these lessons did expose me to reading music, so when band instruments at my school became available to us in the 4thgrade I took to the trombone fairly quickly. I don’t recall exactly what made me pick that ridiculous sliding gold hunk of plumbing, but I now suspect that my music director at the time really needed a trombone in his band and he found one of the kids who showed up for tryouts that was tall enough to reach the full length of the instrument.
In any case, I seemed to have at least some natural ability on the thing and started to play more and more as the years went on. By about age 12 I was trombone lessons at a local music studio in Pittsburgh, and not too much later was playing in community bands/orchestras outside of school to satisfy my hunger. Before long I was making it into All-State bands and playing in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. At that point I was completely hooked and off to the races.