Voice, Piano, Trumpet
University of the Arts
Jazz, R&B, Classical
I started teaching in 2010 at a Latin Jazz school in North Philly called AMLA. There I developed a technique of teaching where I mix lessons from yoga and meditation with traditional vocal warmups. The voice is the only instrument where your entire body health directly affects your performance. Therefore, I believe being in tune with your body will help you stay in tune with the music. During our lessons we will employ relaxation techniques and tension reducing stretches in the beginning. Afterwards, we will explore techniques of singing from the “Speech Level Singing” philosophy made famous by Seth Riggs. However, my philosophy is not to employ any specific technique of singing to all my students. I love listening to singers and figuring out what works best for them. I believe the best teachers are ones that empower students with no bias or judgement. In this way, students can grow into their own musician as opposed to musicians in their teacher’s image.
When did you begin singing, and why?
I began singing when I was in elementary school. I had a solo singing “I believe I can fly” for my sixth grade graduation. However, I didn’t start taking singing seriously until I was in 9th grade. There I joined a 5 part singing group with my friends where we sang Boyz-II-Men songs to people in the hallways. Once I felt that camaraderie with my fellow singers, I never looked back.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play piano, trumpet, and some light percussion. I have played piano for about 5 years. I mainly use my piano skills to accompany my singing when my piano player is unavailable.
Trumpet is the first instrument I played. I started when I was in 4th grade. It took a backseat to everything else once I started writing music and singing.
I recently started playing conga, which I’m still a beginner at, but clave, guiro, and the maracas are instruments that I have played for awhile. I was playing these while employed in a salsa band a few years ago.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
If I can travel the world singing songs to weary travelers, I can die a happy man.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I sang for a long while not knowing what the difference between my head voice and falsetto were. One day, I was singing and it just clicked. I talked with my voice teacher and he gave me a pat on the back. Sometimes singing can be difficult to conceptualize since it’s all body work, but once you get it, you’ll remember it always!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
I was singing during my senior recital at Uarts and I forgot the lyrics to the second verse of the song. It was in Italian. I made up the lyrics for the second verse until I got back to the refrain. I thought he was going to be disappointed, but he told me I did exactly what I should have done as a performer.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
A few years back I had a bad case of singers reflux. I was going through a stressful time that was made more stressful by the fact that I couldn’t sing. I had to learn to be patient. I had to learn to eat better and take better care of my body, aka my instrument.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
At the last school that I taught at, I started an all girl rock ensemble. It was very difficult getting approval, but once we did they succeeded with flying colors. To see these amazing girls, all aged 12-15, singing and playing a Florence and the Machine song was an amazing moment for me. I hope to continue with those beautiful moments everywhere I teach.
Favorite thing about teaching?
I enjoy the exchange of information. Students don’t know this, but they end up teaching us almost as much as we teach them. For me, I really enjoy the fact that I get to learn so much from the people that come to me for knowledge.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Comparisons can make musicians anxious and stop practicing before they see results. Understand where you’re at and that every musician had to start from essentially zero. Be confident with starting at zero, and be confident in your ability to progress.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc.
Buddy Roc & the Heartbreak Kids is my main project right now. I am the lead singer and songwriter for this moody R&B band with a Latin twist.
Here is our latest music video, Don’t Let It Go. We are filming two music videos for the band in the month of August. I am also directing a music video for an artist named Kenty Love. In January I will be flying to Puerto Rico to direct a music video for an artist named Diego Romero.
I was recently in a movie called “Tales From Shaolin: Shakey Dog” that was nominated for best film at the blackstar film festival.