B.M. Jazz Performance, Temple University
I graduated from Temple University with a B.M. in Jazz Performance. While at Temple, I was the featured vocalist with the Temple University Big Band, led by Terell Stafford, for two years. I also had the opportunity to perform the Philadelphia premiere of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” alongside members of the Grammy Award winning vocal group The Crossing. In the summer of 2016, I received a scholarship to attend the Keep an Eye Summer Workshop at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, through which I had the opportunity to learn from Becca Stevens. Outside of Temple, I have studied privately with Camila Meza—who is a musical hero of mine.
I have been teaching private voice and beginner piano lessons since I graduated from college. For my voice students, I like to include a mix of vocal technique, sight reading and theory, and repertoire. Of course, I like to pursue the things my students are most interested in—whether that means learning a Taylor Swift cover, a jazz standard, a rock song, or a Broadway tune, I am completely excited to pursue what my students love most. In fact, some of my students have expressed interest in learning to compose, so I incorporated songwriting into their lessons. This has been a great deal of fun!
When did you begin singing, and why?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Around six years old, I would invite my neighborhood friends over to my house and we would put on “concerts.” I particularly loved being Britney Spears—hairbrush mic included, but have since graduated to more sophisticated tastes.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play functional jazz piano, and mostly use it as a compositional tool.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
Currently, my primary goal is to continue writing material for my next recording project.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
One of my vocal teachers would always say that if you’re not a bit uncomfortable, you’re not growing. This really pushed me to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. In other words, as long as I was working hard and pushing to get to the next goal, I was on the right path, even if things didn’t sound totally amazing right then and there.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
Learning how to sing in chest voice. This was a process that took an incredibly long amount of time. My voice was in a transitional place for quite a while, but once I got it under control, the ability to use my chest voice in a healthy way was quite freeing.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
This past year I recorded and released as six-track EP titled Chance on Me. All the tracks are original compositions, and a good friend arranged the horn charts. It’s the project I am most proud of, because I feel I really put a lot of positive energy into making it happen. Having something of your own out in the universe for people to enjoy is beautiful1!
Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is seeing my students get excited about music. It’s special seeing my students grow as musicians, and it’s extra special when they come to their lessons and share all the cool tunes they’ve been listening to or share with me about a concert they went to.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Remember to have fun! It’s important to learn theory and technique, but it is also important to make yourself happy. I always encourage my students to learn songs they love and pursue music they love.
Personal music projects:
Chance on Me EP – Released Sept. 14, 2018.