Bass, Ukulele, Guitar, Piano
Bachelors in Composition and Recording
In-Home and Studio Lessons
When did you begin playing the bass, and why?:
My musical journey began when my parents gave me guitar lessons for my tenth birthday. I had watched them play guitar and sing at church growing up. I enjoyed learning and dutifully practiced the finger-style bluegrass tunes my teacher gave me. In middle school I learned tuba so that I could play in band with my friends. In high school I adapted my tuba knowledge to bass so that I could join the jazz band and that’s been my main instrument since. I see a simple connection between the thumb-picked bass lines of finger style guitar, tuba and bass. I’ve always been into the bottom end.
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
When I’m recording or performing music it is always my goal to convey the feel and meaning of the music to the people in an honest way. I love the way music connects us to each other as performers, listeners and people and love when I can feel that connection happening!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?:
Quite recently I finally have felt comfortable playing in that muted P-Bass vintage tone. It’s something I’ve been curious about for a while so I did a little research and put the time into strengthening my palm-muted picking technique. It’s definitely changed the way I play, even when I’m not doing that specific tone. I’m always chasing the perfect tone!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
When studying improvisation in college I remember a rehearsal where our professor told us that no matter what note you hit it’s either the right note or a half step away from a right note and you can move there quickly. I remember that really freeing up my solos. Instead of being fearful of hitting “wrong notes” and worrying about scales constantly I was able to focus on what I was trying to say with the solo and relax a bit.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
When I started studying piano I struggled with playing smooth dynamics. I had been playing upright and electric bass for a few years and bass playing hands and piano playing hands move in very different ways! It took me a lot of time and practice to learn and adjust to that new medium but I’m glad I did.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
A year ago my band, Busses, released our second album, Wizard of the Eye, and I’m very proud of it. It took years to record and all of us changed and lived through so much during its production, getting married, having kids, different jobs, etc. We are very different people now at the end of that album then when we started and much better for it. The album takes you through that process and so much more.
Favorite thing about teaching?:
I love the moment that a student overcomes something they really had struggled with. A certain technique, a tricky passage in a piece or even something more conceptual. I love the pride that comes when the student finally gets it and builds it into their toolkit.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Record yourself practicing and listen back! It can be so hard as a musician to objectively tell whether or not your playing something correctly while you are playing it. Your brain really wants you to have done it right and will quickly convince you that it went well. It’s only by recording yourself and listening back that you can truly tell if the notes were solid and your timing was perfect.
And a second thing… practice to a metronome! It is so important to develop an internal sense of rhythm and the best way to do that is by practicing along with something that is a steady tempo. It feels tedious but is very worthwhile.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I produce hip hop under the beat making moniker, Johann Sebastian, and play keys and bass in the psych-rock trio, Busses.