Guitar, Bass & Piano
I have been playing piano and guitar for just about my entire life and despite not holding a degree I have learned from and played with many esteemed musicians. I began taking lessons at an early age and received them until highschool when I attended a public school with a strong music department. We had a concert and marching band, string ensemble as well as piano and guitar classes. Throughout my highschool career I was frequently found in the piano room, digging through books of songs and theory and learning pieces for the choir. Once my academic credits were fulfilled I helped in the piano room, teaching and grading basic skills one on one with students while the teacher led the classroom.
Since then I received more lessons focused on more advanced techniques and theory as it pertains to jazz. Around 2012 I moved up to Philadelphia and have been around DIY venues and small clubs playing with anyone and everyone who was interested. As a result I’ve been a bit of a hired gun through my 20s playing on many different projects, with many musicians and on whatever instrument they needed (mostly piano and bass). At this stage I am confident I can help beginner and intermediate players reach their goals with the instrument through the development of technique and ear. Show me the musician you wish to be and I’ll do what it takes to help you.
When did you begin playing your instruments, and why?
When I was about 6 years old I asked for a Playstation for Christmas. Instead I got a plastic keyboard with 61 keys. Lessons soon followed from an elementary school teacher and I’ve been playing ever since. I suppose my parents made the right call.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play guitar and bass as well and I’ve played both in multiple bands over the years and have experience recording with them. I’ve been playing guitar since 6th grade but the bass is a new found passion, only having picked it up in the last 5 years. I did have a four year stint with the trumpet also and played in the middle school marching band.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
Ideally to make a career from playing, writing and teaching. I’ve had the good fortune to tour and play in many states from Massachusetts to Texas but there’s still more to see and more places to play.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
There was a period in high school when I tried to learn a song every day by ear. After a few months of trial and error there came a moment where I could hear a chord and immediately play it without looking for it and it felt as natural as speaking. I was convinced I had figured it all out. Then it clicked with me how little I knew!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Serve the song first. All technique and skill are irrelevant if you’re just puking on a tune to show off.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
Aside from the initial pain from the guitar, learning to play in all 12 keys. I still get tripped up transposing into some of them.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
A few years ago my friend was playing a show at the First Unitarian Church. Their keyboard player quit the day of and and I was called to fill in. I learned the songs, and played the show that night. I was flattered that they trusted me to pull it off and was stoked to cross that venue off the list of places I always hoped to play.
Favorite thing about teaching?
Sharing the joy with somebody else, as corny as that is.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Be proactive. Study, learn and practice. Most importantly remember that we “play” music; it’s meant to be fun and expressive.
Personal music projects:
Currently I play in a Grateful Dead cover band called “Friends of Jerry” as well as a rock band called “Half Thought”. There’s some other stuff in the works as well – always busy.