I am currently on the faculty at Sonoma State University teaching through the Jazz Studies program.
I have been teaching for close to twenty years in Boston, MA and now here in Marin County. I take an individual approach with all of my students and assess their needs and learning styles and teach accordingly. I use a wide variety of teaching material and approaches that include, rhythm studies, sight reading, chord studies, chord scales, voice leading, ear training; ensemble playing, development of style.
I Teach The Student, Not The Method
It has only been within the past generation that educators understand that each individual learner, processes information in their own unique way. Many people are visual learners. Others need to “do” first and then determine what worked or what didn’t work. And there are those that need to process written information first before attempting to try their hand at something.
I’ve spent years developing the craft of my own teaching with a long dose of patience and close observation. I have students who don’t like to have too much written music in front of them and there are those who take comfort in processing through written material. My goal is finding the balance with each student while continually finding the path to ensure that each student is building their base of skills:
Skill Building and Awareness
(1) Rhythmic, melodic and harmonic awarness
(2) Repertoire development
(3) Basic ear training (distiguishing major and minor chords and scales)
(4) Improvisation skills
(5) Group playing
Finding The Rhythm Within
If there is one universal that I’ve settled upon in my approach to teaching over the years, it is helping every student find their internal rhythmic voice that manifests through their instrument. The single thread that binds all musicians to the music is the rhythm. If you don’t have a solid sense of where the beat is, you probably won’t connect with the other players in the group. And if you’re playing solo and you don’t understand the instrinsic nature of rhythm you probably won’t convey your music in a meaningful way.
FORTE Music at Marin Country Day School
I currently direct a wonderfull after school, music enrichment program called FORTE at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. We have close to a dozen instructors teaching over 90 students guitar, piano, voice, drums, violin and band.