Trumpet, Piano, Voice
I teach Trumpet, Piano, Voice. Born and raised in Albany, New York, I started playing piano lessons at the age of seven and picked up the trumpet just a few years later. Growing up in a family that loved to listen to jazz, I decided to follow my other brother’s footsteps and join my high school jazz band. Quickly learning the ways of the music, I started to make a name for myself joining groups such as the Empire State Youth Jazz Orchestra, New York’s All-State Jazz Ensemble, the NAfME All-Eastern Jazz Ensemble, the Skidmore Jazz Institute and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Academy under the direction of Wynton Marsalis.
I’ve had the pleasure of learning from and playing with some of the greatest musicians of our time including Dylan Canterbury, Sachal Vasandani, Eric Schweingruber, Jimmy Greene, Michael Rodriguez, Joe Magnarelli, Mike Natale, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Jon Faddis, Antonio Hart, Terell Stafford, and Wynton Marsalis among others.
I’m a graduate of Temple University’s Jazz Studies program with a concentration in Trumpet, under the direction of Terell Stafford. I currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I play trumpet and sing in performances as well as give private trumpet, piano and voice lessons.
When did you begin playing Trumpet, and why?
I began playing trumpet in fourth grade because I wanted to play a wind instrument and my school’s band needed trumpet players. My Grandfather also played trumpet and I very quickly fell in love with it!
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I started studying classical piano privately in second grade. In college I continued playing classical piano and started learning jazz piano. I love piano and still play at home all the time because it helps me to visualize the music that I’m writing or hearing. I am also a singer! At my jazz performances, I both sing and play trumpet relatively equally.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
As a musician, one of my goals is to tour the world with a band under my own name. At the same time, I want to be able to express myself in a way that makes the listeners and myself feel good. I also want to share the things I’ve learned with the younger generation of musicians.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?:
I remember in 4th grade music class we were playing on recorders and learning to improvise over a simple song. It was so fun for me to make up my own melodies and now I’ll always remember that as my first jazz solo!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
My favorite piece of advice was from a college trumpet teacher. He said that “discipline is more rewarding than inspiration”. While it’s important to be inspired and know why you love something, the real progress shows up when you put in effort on a steady basis.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
My most challenging moment on the trumpet was finding an embouchure that worked for me (the way my lips vibrate into the mouthpiece). With enough curiosity and focused practicing I was able to find a good way to play trumpet efficiently.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I was once complemented by one of my trumpet heroes, Wynton Marsalis. He said that my playing almost made him cry! Whether he was completely serious or not, it felt really good to hear and made me want to keep doing what I love.
Favorite thing about teaching?
I love when a student gets excited about grasping a new concept or playing music that they genuinely enjoy.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Remember to have FUN! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when learning an instrument or a piece of music, but music was created for people to feel good, not frustrated! When feeling defeated, listen back to the things that inspired you to play music in the first place.