Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele, Mandolin
I am a multi-instrumentalist, arranger and songwriter specializing in double bass, electric bass and guitar. I studied at Temple University and hold a degree in music education and jazz performance. I grew up in a family of music lovers so some of my favorite early memories are of sitting around playing and singing songs with my family. I played saxophone and guitar from an early age, and then fell in love with the bass in high school. In college I studied under Philadelphia Orchestra bassist Robert Kesselman and the great jazz bassist David Wong. Since then, I’ve written and recorded as 1/2 of the Indie/Folk/Jazz/Pop duo The Gender Gnomes, and as 1/3 of Rock/Jazz/Pop/Fusion trio The Triple T’s.
As a teacher, I am dedicated to making lessons a joyful, personalized experience. I like to hear from students what areas of music most excite them, then give them the tools to dive deeper into their passions. I think humans are drawn to make music because we each have something to express that goes beyond what words alone can communicate, so I’m always striving to give students the skills and space to get in touch with their own unique voices.
When did you begin playing Bass, and why?
I started playing double bass in high school. I was playing guitar and saxophone in school bands, but the bass drew me in and I started messing around on it during breaks. I learned to play a few walking bass lines and loved the feeling of it. At the end of my sophomore year, the school’s then-only bassist was graduating and asked me “you’re going to play bass in the orchestra next year, right?” And from then on I was a bassist.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
In addition to bass, I play guitar, saxophone, trumpet, mandolin, ukulele and banjo. I started with saxophone in elementary school band, and guitar followed soon after. But growing up in a musical family, my parents, siblings aunts and uncles just kept bringing new instruments to the house, and I wanted to learn to play all of them. From a young age, I’ve done a lot of recording in my bedroom, so I’m always jumping between instruments, experimenting to try to find the perfect combination of sounds for each song I record.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My goal as a musician is to spread joy wherever I can. I love collaboration, and when a group of musicians is all feeling the music together, whether it’s an orchestra, a rock band, a jazz group, or just a duo in the back of a restaurant, there’s an infectious joy that I can’t get enough of.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I remember in high school, I was really struggling to learn jazz. One day, I heard “The People That Walked In Darkness” from Handel’s Messiah, and realized the way the melody snakes around, encircling each ‘right’ note with a couple ‘wrong’ ones, sounded a whole lot like a slowed-down version of the bebop music I had been trying to wrap my head around. Since then, the connective threads between different eras and styles of music have been a guiding force in all the music I make.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Make friends. I’m naturally a pretty introverted person, but the close friends I’ve made over the years have always inspired me and kept me going, both as a musician and a person.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
My most challenging moment learning an instrument was learning to use the bow correctly on double bass. When I started practicing it seriously, I played long tones every day, struggling to keep my arm flowing steadily and trying to remember to breathe. But once I got the hang of it, the exercise became almost meditative and gave me a whole new sense of focus when I practiced.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
My biggest musical achievement is the music I’ve made with my partner Rachel as The Gender Gnomes. Our collaboration has always brought out the best in each of us, so the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.
Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite moments teaching have been seeing students’ creative voices shine! I’ve taught jazz improv and songwriting workshops to choirs and general music classes who don’t normally get a chance to create like that, and every time, students have created things made me say “wow, I never thought about it that way before!”
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Always keep listening and growing. The best musicians I know are lifelong students, always working on their craft and taking inspiration from the music, people and life experiences around them.
Personal music projects:
I write and perform as half of the Indie/Folk/Jazz/Pop duo, The Gender Gnomes. We play in Philly, New York and all the places in-between.