I'm a young, enthusiastic, energetic, and patient pianist with a B.A. in Jazz Piano Performance from Lewis and Clark College.
So, born in Dallas, I've spent parts of my childhood in various parts of the country, from Washington D.C. to Carbondale, Colorado to Portland, Oregon, and now in hot and humid Houston, Texas. America has a plenty to offer and our great country's musical history is rich and eclectic. I first started playing piano at a very young age from a very old lady. It was something I resented my parents for, not really understanding the whole point of playing music. But now, in retrospect, I thank them indefinitely for exposing me to one of the most important passions of my life. It was in 6th grade that I joined a rock n' roll band, singing and playing all sorts of keyboards and having a ball with music. The idea that I was having fun playing music finally dawned on me and the verb "playing" music finally made perfect sense to me. Without passion, music is simply another endeavor, so this realization propelled me into the realm of music indefinitely.
In high-school I finally learned what jazz music was and fell in love with the idea of spontaneous improvisation. Learning theory really helped and I started jamming with my buddies, eventually starting a cover band. Although I've never lost sight of my classical roots, trying to improve my technique as well as my sight-reading, it was in jazz that I really found my calling. So in college, I started studying with a great jazz pianist, Randy Porter, and found my fingers wrapping themselves around my own music in a way I never thought possible. So that's that, I've recently graduated, having played gigs and teaching kids, and found my way into a new city with new possibilities.
When it comes to teaching, most teachers adhere to a strict curriculum. While I do love my curriculum, I will often change things around in order to cater to my students' different needs. Through all my experiences, I've learned that positive reinforcement is ideal and that a good association with a learning experience often paves the way for more of them. Working with me gives students the opportunity to make headway in an instrument without painstaking monotony. The more that somebody enjoys learning, the more that they learn. I love to have fun when I'm teaching, so my students tend to have fun as well. Like I said earlier, music should be "played," and playing should be fun!
*** Lesson Details ***
My lessons will usually begin with a recap of the last week, what the student has practiced, and what they accomplished since the last lesson. For some students, I will assign listening over the week, so at the beginning of the lessons, I read over the observations that they made in regards to the songs they listened to.
One thing I require of all of my students is a notebook devoted solely to the lesson, where the student writes down what he/she thinks about in terms of accomplishments and what they want to learn. I will also write down in the notebook different techniques, assignments, and various other things related to the lesson for the betterment of the student. My typical lesson will involve a communication between the student and myself, trying best to learn where the student is coming from and cater to his/her necessities in terms of learning. I am laid back, for the most part, but will encourage the student to practice. I do not get angry, but I will try to inspire the student through various techniques, becoming more disappointed than enraged at a student's lack of enthusiasm. Lessons for me are fun and I try and convey that jovial enthusiasm to my students.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Lessons in living room with upright piano, couch. I do have cats, so heads up if you're allergic.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I may or may not bring music paper and lesson books. If it is the first lesson, I'll definitely bring some material. I expect a piano in the home of the student given the enormous stature of the instrument.
*** Specialties ***
I specialize in jazz piano, first and foremost. Although I was coached in classical as a child and can easily teach most intermediates, jazz is my forte and my major in college. In terms of teaching styles, it all depends on the student. More than most teachers, though, I put a heavy weight on listening to music in order to fully understand it. Technique is very important and must be taught, but feel is probably paramount and should be emphasized. Before a student can accurately play a piece of music, he/she must be able to connect with the music. When it comes to the piano, especially jazz piano, theory and knowledge of how the sounds of the instrument interact are also crucial. I will teach an appropriate amount of theory to the students given the style of play and pieces they are learning.
I wrote blogs pertaining to the history of the piano, purchasing pianos, teaching piano, and learning piano. The job had me writing a myriad of blogs of week, constantly coming up with new ideas for my topics.
I tutored at a college level ear training, music theory, and piano skills my junior and senior years of college. This helped me pass on complex musical ideas to different peers who were in need of my expertise. My professors recommended me for the position as I excelled in their classes.