Specializing in Brass Instruments
Advanced Trombone and Euphonium
Tuba, Trumpet, French Horn
Piano, Guitar, and Bass Guitar
Composition and Music Theory
Jazz and Classical
I teach trumpet, tenor and bass trombone, euphonium/baritone horn, tuba, and french horn. I also teach beginner piano, guitar, and bass. I came to Philadelphia to attend the University of the Arts, from which I received the degree of Bachelor of Music with honors in 2016. I studied bass trombone with Barry McCommon, a top-call classical and jazz crossover artist in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York area. The Philly music scene is wonderfully diverse, and I have the opportunity to perform with accomplished musicians in genres as diverse as jazz, pop/rock, R&B, funk, classical, gospel, reggae, klezmer, soul, punk, even Star Wars music! My favorite teachers have always helped hone my senses and my ability to teach myself, and I like to take that approach with my own students; together we can explore concepts in terms of our relationships to them, resulting in a deep understanding and personal connection to music.
I started playing trombone in the 4th grade. I actually didn’t want to play music at all, but my dad told me that I had to pick an instrument and give it a try. At first I only enjoyed band class in school because I could hang out with my friends, but as time went on I started to enjoy playing the trombone more and more, and by the time I entered high school I was totally psyched to play as much music as possible!
I learned to play most other instruments in the brass family (trumpet, tuba, baritone horn, euphonium and french horn) because, as a professional musician, it’s very useful to be able to double on more than one horn. Other instruments like piano, guitar and bass I picked up while playing in bands with my high school friends, and have continued to practice so that I can record the instrumental tracks to songs that I write.
My favorite pieces of music always have a very clear sense of identity and purpose, and my goal in performing and composing is to achieve that same effect by keeping in mind the overall intention of the piece. When I fully understand what makes a piece appealing, it’s easy and fun to be decisive about the small details so that they can all contribute to the bigger picture.
I’ll never forget this breakthrough in my concept of time: I had always relied on a drummer or a conductor or a metronome to provide the beat for me, and there was a lot of uncertainty when I had to perform without those safety nets, or at a difficult tempo. I started practicing with a very slow metronome, clicking once every four beats or more, and within a month I started to develop a very particular sensation of the rhythmic pulse. Now, I’m more able to feel small subdivisions of the beat that allow me to lock in with certainty at unfamiliar, difficult, and changing tempos.
When I’m getting very hyper-focused on small details, I often hear Randy Kapralick’s voice in my head. In college, he was sure to remind me to be mentally present for the actual experience of performing, rather than be trapped in my brain by a purely academic, analytical approach. It’s helpful to remember that, once I’ve done all my detailed preparation, I can take a step back and relax as I play. Not only is the performance more enjoyable for me, but my listeners will probably also appreciate that special feeling from their performer.
Halfway through college, I realized that I had developed an embouchure that was limiting my ability to perform the full range of my instrument. Essentially, my lips were used to contorting in a specific way in order to play high notes, and I hadn’t noticed it for years. I had to re-learn my embouchure, beginning with the correct setup in the middle range and slowly expanding it without resorting to the crutch I had developed before. Since dealing with that, I have much better control of my range, and a better sense of bodily awareness that helps me avoid similar problems.
I’m very proud to have become a very useful and, in some cases, indispensable member of so many musical groups. My abilities to perform, create, and communicate with other musicians have been proven to the point that I’m usually trusted to make comments and offer suggestions when appropriate. Whether I’m a leader, musical director, soloist, or just playing an ensemble part, these collaborative skills have allowed me to manifest my creative ideas for the good of the total product, and that gives me a deep satisfaction.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):