I am an active educator, and every week I work with students privately, primarily in one-on-one settings but also sometimes in small ensembles.
Arnold Schoenberg once remarked that the complete musician is a performer, composer, and educator. I think this triumvirate is an apt description. As satisfying as the act of performing is, it can lack the interpersonal contact, methodological elements, and philosophical issues that teaching engages in a different and more enriching way. The act of consciously verbalizing and conceptualizing how to play combined with empirical observation helps crystallize elements in my own performing, and it forms a satisfying feedback loop between the stage and the classroom.
Teaching is an exchange which involves many facets. It enables me to: engage with students as individuals; analyze and solve technical problems based on bodily sensation, empirical evidence, and reasoning; encounter previously unconsidered musical questions and find answers; appreciate, facilitate, and engage different learning styles; develop different ways of thinking about musical fundamentals and how to apply them; and delve more deeply into the physical, somatic, and artistic principles behind woodwind playing. Ideally lessons are a mutual, reciprocal, and synergistic process. I often gain as much from the encounter as the other person does.
My main woodwind and improvisation teachers have included Eugene Rousseau, Thomas Walsh, David Baker, David Liebman, James Moody, Tim Timmons, Cynthia Price-Svehla, Randall Cunningham, Mark Cohick, and Aaron Simcox. All of them have had an incalculable impact on my approach to teaching, but I still hope to bring something of myself, my experiences, and my worldview.
I strive to be an intelligent, empathetic, patient, observant, historically literate, and humorous teacher who imparts a strong sense of fundamentals, but also one who encourages the student to discover and bring out her own character and approach. Music can be considered to be a form of meditation in the sense that it is interconnected with perception, psychophysical use, beauty and aesthetics, critical thinking, emotional awareness, and much more.
In the act of learning about the instrument, and in the continual process of learning itself (the root meaning of the word "discipline"), an individual gains knowledge about herself and her own responses. In the process of interacting with a machine at ever-more-subtle levels, it is really the body/mind which becomes, or is, the instrument.
I am inspired by many sources, but a few that I might especially single out include general principles drawn from the Alexander Technique, wonderfully described and applied in Ted Dimon's book "The Elements of Skill" as well as the ideas of J. Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life) and David Bohm (Thought as a Process, Science, Creativity, and Order). I am also currently interested in studying and applying aspects of the Kodaly method to teaching rhythm.
I have coached many students on NYSSMA classical and jazz solos at levels I-VI. I have had woodwind students accepted into the New York Summer Arts program, the New York Pops Kids on Stage program, and Summer Arts Institute, and to date I have had six students accepted into LaGuardia High School and one into Frank Sinatra High School.
For several years, I was an instrumentalist performer on staff with Jazz at Lincoln Center's WeBop program, a program designed to teach core concepts of jazz music and history to children under the age of 6 and their parents.
My Individuation Quartet has presented masterclasses to middle through high school students at Northrup High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana and also at Liberty North High School in Liberty, Missouri.
I am also the woodwind teacher for PS 126 in Manhattan, where I maintain an active private lessons studio with students grades 6-8.
For information on my teaching activities, or to get in touch with me, feel free to contact me here. You can also visit my Thumbtack page, where I discuss common questions and issues related to woodwind playing.