Cello and Piano
Cello Performance, Brooklyn College
Classical, Rock, Contemporary
I teach cello and piano. I started playing cello at the age of 9 in Fairfax County, Virginia, and studied with Marcio Botelho and Amy Frost-Baumgarten. I attended Brooklyn College where I studied cello performance with Kalin Ivanov and graduated with a minor in music in 2015. While I was classically trained I have performed with an eclectic group of musicians both as a session cellist and a band member, from rap to rock to folk groups. Knowledge of theory and improvisation has always been extremely important to me, and I strive to create a well-rounded curriculum that allows my students to be as creative as possible with their skills. My number one priority is to ensure students learn how to be proficient musicians while having fun and expressing themselves! I can also be found performing with Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Shannen Moser around the city.
When did you begin playing Cello, and why?
I started playing cello in fourth grade at age 9 through the public school system. I originally offered to play because there weren’t enough cellists, but quickly fell in love with the instrument and its timbre and range.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play keyboard, which I took in college.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My goals are simple – to find a way to do what I love for a living! More specifically, I am particularly interested in musicology with a focus in intersections between feminism, electronic music, and DIY punk. I want to use my experience in touring, performing, and teaching to further both my educational pursuits and my musical enrichment.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
Breaking down scales and really, truly learning them opened up so many doors to the rest of the musical world. Once you realize how many musical passages are based on scales, arpeggios, and the like, everything gets so much easier!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Practicing is not useful unless you actually focus! 30 minutes of concentrated practice is almost always better than 4 hours of scatterbrained practice.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
I had a hard time finding the right teacher, and right before my college auditions, I had to switch. I think it is important to find someone that understands how you learn, and sometimes the communication aspect of a lesson can change everything. It can be even harder than learning the instrument itself!
What is your biggest musical achievement?
Playing in front of 5,000 people on tour was pretty amazing, but the smaller things are often more fulfilling to me. Writing a part that fits perfectly into a song, nailing a harmony part, and getting chills while performing are some of my favorite feelings in the world.
Favorite thing about teaching?
I love sharing enthusiasm about the cello with students. After all, we’re here for the same reason – we love music!
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Patience is always key. Sometimes concepts or techniques don’t always click immediately, and that’s okay. The more effort you put into playing correctly will be more satisfying both in the moment for the current piece and later as you advance as a musician.
Personal music projects:
Shannen Moser, The World is a Beautiful Place & I am no Longer Afraid to Die