My teaching philosophy: we are all students. I am constantly inspired to learn – new tunes, new techniques, new instruments. The list is longer than I can fulfill in a day and grows at a faster pace than I can study. This is the beauty in pursuit of knowledge, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
As a teacher my goal is to guide students on their own musical path. My students range in age from middle schoolers to grandparents. Most students come to me to learn about improvisation and jazz, but always end up including music fundamentals, the philosophy of study, and understanding of the self.
Here in Nashville I’m the creator and director of the Nashville Jazz Workshop Summer Jazz Camp, a weeklong jazz intensive for teenagers that’s run for five years. In June 2016 we had our first summer at the beautiful facilities of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and the students were terrific!
I also run the Nashville Jazz Workshop Scholarship Lessons Program. This creates learning opportunities for our local teenagers who are interested in jazz studies, essentially an intensive college preparatory program. Many of our graduates have had a great variety of college programs opened up to them. Additionally I’ve been on the music faculty at Bemidji State University, have taught clinics and classes for colleges and high schools, and have a home studio for private students.
Students benefit from my high level of organization, a necessary trait learned from shifting my musical focus from the oboe to the saxophone in my early 20s, as well keeping regimented on four + instruments (flute, clarinet, oboe, all saxophones). Studies include active listening, transcriptions, instrument fundamentals, and play-alongs. The lessons incorporate books I have studied with their authors, including Greg Fishman’s Jazz Saxophone Etudes and Jeff Coffin’s The Articulate Jazz Musician.
I have a BM in oboe performance from Northwestern University and an MM in jazz studies from Purchase College. I’ve been fortunate to study with some of the world’s finest musicians, both from the classical and jazz vernaculars. Some of my most formative classical studies were with Ray Still, Alex Klein, Elaine Douvas, Mallory Thompson, and Louis Caimano. Jazz studies have included Jon Faddis, Eric Alexander, Todd Coolman, John Riley, Greg Fishman, Ralph Lalama, and Steve Wilson.
To find out about availability for lessons or for references, please use the contact page.