I am one of those individuals for whom teaching is just something that I have to do. I started giving music lessons sometime in the 80âs and have loved working with all levels of skill and experience. My students say that I am patient, adaptive and encouraging, committed to making music fun.
I have a Masters of Music from New England Conservatory in Jazz Piano and am comfortable and fluent in a number of musical styles, including pop, rock, gospel, traditional hymnody, jazz, and R&B. Although I love and study classical music, it is not something I teach at this point.
In addition to private lessons and performing, I do music transcription, workshops, and all forms of vocal and instrumental arranging. Having served as a church musician for more than 30 years, I currently co-lead the worship team at Life Church in Boston with my wife. I recently signed on as the keyboard player for Tall Enough, a Boston-based alternative rock band. I often find myself involved in city-wide music events in Bostonâs faith-based community, most recently arranging music and directing a 60-voice choir for Boston Night of Worship.
I enjoy my morning coffee, finding new guitar chords, creating killer PowerPoint presentations, and watching how fast my teenage daughter can text her friends.
*** Lesson Details ***
My priority as a teacher is to make the learning process fun, life-giving, and productive. I teach with patience and humor, at a challenging but not frustrating pace.
Some quotes from my students:
âI absolutely love learning from Bil! Iâve watched my playing and the playing of others at church vastly improve as a result of his training.â
â[Bil] is filled with a large amount of knowledge, so while sitting under him you not only learn about how to play but you learn about music history and theory. Beyond being a good teacher he is genuine and friendly and cares about others.â
âI have really enjoyed working with Bil. His patience and wealth of knowledge has helped me come out of my musical shell and has encouraged me to discover my musical voice.â
âBil makes learning theory fun! His deep understanding of music is complemented by his contagious enthusiasm.â
There are at least two ways that might set me apart from other teachers.
Firstly, I have honed and developed "people skills". I am an ordained minister and have held positions where I was formally and informally in a mentoring/pastoring role. I bring that sensitivity to my music lessons, understanding that personal and emotional issues can be triggered by the engagement with the music and skills being worked on.
Secondly, I've had a remarkable broad base of experience. My coursework has exposed me to a wide breadth of ideas and tools; my work life has been long and varied; I have had extensive experience in many different cultural contexts, both musically and otherwise; and I work well with many age groups and skill levels.
Regarding my teaching approach:
For beginners, I have a fairly consistent set of topics and skill sets to cover. Generally, in a few months, piano students (particularly those in middle school through adulthood) should know how to play major, minor and seventh chords, how to read simple chord charts and some very basic accompanying skills. Guitar students should know a dozen open chords and have been introduced to barre chords, and to have learned several styles of finger picking as well as strumming. Bass students should know how to find notes on the board and will have begun to learn how to fill out a song with an expressive but non-obtrusive bass line.
For intermediate students, the pace, direction and focus on lessons depends upon the goals and passions of the student along with the amount of time he or she has to practice. My goals for students at this level and beyond is to learn how to learn. I will use outstanding recorded examples of particular skills or stylistic idioms to help my students understand and master each new concept. I often will check in with my student to make sure that we are on track with what they are hoping for.
For advanced students, we will generally target very specific objectives. I also try to add elements of theory, history, culture, and even life lessons to apply to the topics we address. Because of my background in pastoral ministry, I can serve as a mentor addressing the emotional and relational issues of playing music as well as its technical aspects.
*** Studio Equipment ***
upstairs music room: fender Rhodes piano, keyboards, amps, drum set, seating for parents
*** Travel Equipment ***
if for guitar or bass, that instrument; I expect piano students to have an available piano and for other students to have their own instrument(s).
*** Specialties ***
strong in jazz, rock, pop, gospel, sacred, R&B.