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Michael first sang on stage, at the age of 3, the same time that he began learning piano. He went on to explore multiple instruments throughout his early years and also developed as a vocalist for theatre and concerts, including competing in Star Search in the mid-80's, the forerunner to American Idol.
Michael earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Troy State University in Troy, AL and Master of Music in Composition from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI, where he studied with world-renowned composer, Dr. David R. Gillingham.
While a graduate student at CMU, Michael taught sophomore Music Theory and senior level Form & Analysis. He also contributed to the book, Music Is Fundamental: Fundamentals and Methods for Elementary Music, by Dr. Daniel L. Steele. Michael was one of only five composers in 2006 to be inducted into the United Michigan Collegiate Composers, and was subsequently commissioned to compose a piece based on the instrumentation of Igor Stravinsky's ”L'histoire du Soldat” for mixed septet. Michael’s composition, ”Le Soldat Moderne”, was premiered at the annual New Music Project 2007 Concert at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI on April 2, 2007.
In addition to his teaching experience at CMU, Michael has taught privately, served as clinician and adjudicator, and has served as middle school/high school & College band director in Alabama and Florida, most recently as Dir. of Instrumental Music at Seminole State College in Orlando, FL, where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Michael is now devoting an increasing amount of time toward composition, having several commissions in progress for radio, television and film. He has also been in demand as a conductor for concerts of his compositions by numerous ensembles across the country, and as a presenter and performer at music conferences and clinics, most recently with presentations based on his research of ”Best Practices in Jazz Improvisation Pedagogy” at the Michigan Music Educators Conference in Grand Rapids, MI, South Carolina/MENC Regional Conference in Charleston, SC and the Symposium for Music Research in Lawrence, KS.
Having played professionally since the age of 17, Michael is an active performer in a variety of genres, being equally adept as a keyboardist, percussionist, and vocalist. He has toured extensively with bands and as a solo artist both at home and abroad, including a three week tour of Russia and the Ukraine as featured vocal artist. Michael has also performed with nationally recognized artists, serving as drummer for Brook Benton (Rainy Night in Georgia), vocalist with Steve Camp (contemporary Christian artist), and keyboardist for Hank Williams, Jr., to name a few. His acting experience includes his portrayal of Jesus in the theatrical production of the musical “Godspell” in 1981. Michael also served as producer/recording artist for 20 CD projects for Integrity Music, generating all of the MIDI files for the Integrity Worship Series.
With years of experience in the studio as a producer, composer, artist, studio designer, and owner/manager, Michael has worked on numerous recording and production projects for film, TV, video, radio and theater & has composed film scores for multiple short and feature films. He is widely recognized for his expertise in the fields of jazz, music theory, and performance/production techniques in a variety of disciplines, and is very excited to be able to bring his experience back home to Orlando as a part of the faculty at TakeLessons.
*** Lesson Details ***
I like to conduct my lessons in a casual, real-world manner more as a mentor than a drill sergeant. I teach the basics along with reading, theory, and advanced techniques as they apply to your instrument or voice. We can progress as far as you want to go! I also will expose you to performance skills that will help you stand out as a player or singer. My students have gone on to play under scholarship to music schools, Marine Band, performing groups and more. I will work with beginners to advanced. Let's Make MUSIC!
*** Studio Equipment ***
Full Professional Audio & Video Recording Studio
CUBASE Recording Software (used by Hans Zimmer)
AVID Video Software
FINALE Music Notation Software
Korg T-1 88-key weighted keyboard
Korg X3 61-key Workstation
Korg CX-3 Organ single manual drawbar w/Leslie simulation
Korg RK-100 Remote Keyboard Controller
Arp Pro Soloist Synthesizer
Roland TD-5 Electronic Drum Kit with extra Brain
Fender Telecoustic Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar (custom)
CB700 6-piece 150th Anniversary Drum Kit
Zildjian & Paiste Formula 602 Cymbals
Wm.F. Ludwig 15" Military Field Snare (vintage)
Multiple concert snares and Latin Percussion instruments
*** Specialties ***
*Drumset - I can teach rock, jazz, recording, etc.
*Rudimental Snare- traditional grip, corps & concert style
*Timpani/Mallets - Concert/Philharmonic approach
*Singing - Pop/Contemporary & Recording performance techniques (Star Search alum & coached for Idol/X-Factor, etc.)
*Music Performance and Music Recording - I draw on my years of running recording studios, major label experience and live performance to teach successful techniques for vocals and instrumentalists.
*Piano - Can teach traditional style and pop/contemp. kybd style
Jill holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and has master's work in choral music. For many years she has taught private and group music lessons to all ages and many varying styles of singing and instrumental music. Her lessons are unlike the ones she remembers from childhood; Jill's lessons are full of creativity, fun and excitement. It is amazing how students improve with each lesson. Jill brings more than just technique to the studio, she strives to find the best in each student and then concentrates on improving each individual's strengths and then delves into ways to correct the weaknesses.
Since Jill is a vocal soloist, instrumentalist, accompanist and director, she knows what it takes to prepare and rehearse and therefore she makes it clear which concept the student will be working on during the lesson. With an instrumental and choral background, Jill brings music to life and then shares with the students how to keep music in their lives forever. Many students who had vocal problems have achieved vocal success after taking several lessons with Jill and learning to keep their voices healthy for the rest of their lives.
Jill has worked with children, teens and adults in many schools, churches and after school programs that she designed. Her success with students who are very young or students who come with disabilities or autistic spectrum diagnosis are moved by the music Jill creates. With the help of the ORFF-SCHULWERK certification, Jill has many ways of reaching children through the use of instruments, rhythm activities, games and other fun ways of learning. Breaking barriers is Jill's best asset, she will not quit until the student has an understanding of the instrument or his/her voice.
The young and the older adults find that taking lessons with Jill has brought them to a place of realizing their potential. Successful stories include pre-school age through students who are retired. The length of time one studies depends on the student's practice and diligence. Many students have started with Jill in preschool or elementary school and have continued through high school and college. Several college age students wanted to improve their singing or instrumental skills so goals were set and met through Jill's successful teaching ability.
Many of Jill's students have become better musicians and many have chosen music professions for their careers. Several students have won contests, auditioned for parts in musicals, started local bands and have become songwriters and performers after taking lessons with Jill.
"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, plans succeed. " (Proverbs 15:22) It is Jill's belief that with her teaching qualifications and past record of success with student achievement and great experience studying with wonderful advisers, teaching YOU or YOUR CHILD will be one of success!
*** Lesson Details ***
Jill's teaching technique is flexible. Some students require a stern and strict approach while others seem to work best with more creative license. Jill is open to each student's needs. When booking lessons with Jill, one will find that the first thing she will do is find out more about the student's needs and desires to succeed in their chosen instrument.
Because of her flexible approach, method books vary depending on the student's need to succeed. Sometimes young students will need to review several beginning methods until their reading skills are achieved. For the young students, Jill teaches theory and gives the young students time during the lesson to explore musical symbols and try their hands at improvisation, rhythms, manuscripts and creativity.
Some students may desire to learn to play "by ear" or through improvisational skills. Jill is very good with improv and her song writing skills are strong. When a student desires to write music, Jill is there to help with questions about time signatures, note values, key signatures and transpositions.
Taking lessons with Jill is a journey that those who have tried have not had regrets. Several parents and past students would be happy to tell you how their talents and gifts improved after working with Jill for a few months. After three months of working together, Jill will know how to pursue the student's musical career. After 6 months the student will be able to play complete songs and have a sense of basic music theory. The hope is for the student to be confident of their instrument's abilities.
Several of Jill's students have taken their skills, gifts and talents to the professional level. Students who have studied with Jill are professional music directors in high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, churches, soloists and some who are in school studying music as their major. Taking lessons with Jill will be something that will add value to the student's life forever because MUSIC is her life! Without music, the world would be a very dull place and individuals would be unhappy and depressed in every walk of life. Music brings out the beauty of creation and man's ability to skillfully play an instrument for pleasure or for one's occupation.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Yamaha Conservatory Grand
5 string bass guitar/amp
4 string acoustic bass guitar
5 string banjo
small MACKIE mixer with mics
Gibson electric guitar with effects and amp
6 string Takamine e-coustic with amp
recorder (the instrument)
tambourines and many percussion instruments
soprano and baritone ukuleles
many amplifiers and sound system accessories
*** Travel Equipment ***
I can provide my own equipment, but I expect the student to provide his/her own instruments and music stand.
*** Specialties ***
My specialty in voice comes from years of lessons and experience. I use many methods and books to bring out various ideas to learn to sing correctly. I take each individual at his/her level and try to improve breathing technique, posture, enunciation with style and phrasing, depending on the student's aspirations.
Jill plays most instruments including piano, guitar, bass guitar, band instruments, ukulele, banjo, dulcimer, drums and violin. Jill enjoys many styles of music and she has played with many bands and groups throughout her musical career. She is a full time musician, music teacher and music director. Years of experience traveling the U.S. with bands, choirs and ensembles enables Jill to work well with many styles of music including contemporary, rock, Christian, Broadway, classical, country, bluegrass, jazz and blues.
I received a clarinet performance degree from Stetson University where I studied music theory and analysis, ear training, symphonic literature, history, etc. In my career as a musician I have performed extensively on the clarinet, flute, and saxophone, as well as being involved in choir and musical theater. I have an acute understanding of the styles of different periods of music and the ability to portray and draw these styles out of my students. I have been teaching private lessons for over 8 years in the Central Florida area.
"Steven is very professional and extremely helpful. He always has a smile on and is serious about helping you phrase the music. I would highly recommend him to anyone."
"It's been really exciting so far! Jordan has been so helpful, so knowledgeable. I could not have found a better instructor and I'm getting better and better every day."
"My daughter's wedding was weeks away and I had never been able to dance a step. With Jenny's help, I came further than ever before in such short time in any subject."