Originally from Port Huron Michigan Ray A. began learning to play the piano at age 5. His formal studies in piano include training at Bellarmine University (jazz studies) and the Naval School of Music (classical and jazz studies). Ray also completed electronics and computer studies DeVry University to stage his background for electronic music and music media.
MY EDUCATOR EXPERIENCE:
Ray served as the Music Media/MIDI Specialist and piano instructor at the Naval School of Music during the mid and late 90's and 2010-2014. His expertise allowed him to design develop and implement a music media/MIDI program for the Armed Forces Music Program. This program played a significant role in futurizing the way military musician's train produce and perform music. As a private instructor Ray has continued to developed and influence many musicians at the beginner intermediate and advanced levels of training. His practical systematic and thorough teaching method allows students to develop quickly and rise to their full potential. Retiring from military music recently Ray is busy working on various recording projects and freelancing as a pianist/keyboardist teaching private lessons and providing music media services in the greater Atlanta area.
As a performing artist Ray has worked as a professional musician for the last 25 years performing around the world in more than 20 different countries with various ensembles. He has recorded on numerous albums with various artists to include the Army Ground Forces Band, Orquesta Sensacional, and most recently with the Ian Charleton Big Band (Brain Chatter Album available on Spotify). Ray is fluent and proficient in many different styles and genres of music. Specializing in jazz and Latin styles he is truly a master improviser and soloist. Ray's style of playing is influenced by artist like Herbie Hancock Chic Corea Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk. Ray has also performed and,or recorded with some of the most accomplished musicians from around the world to include Grover Washington Jr., Hillary Jones, Gerald Chavis, Roy Richardson, Gary Harris, Don Tillman, Brett Anderson, Corey Cross, Alfie Moss, Abdu Salim, Joel Joyner, Dexter Whitaker, Jim Lambie, Jamie Abersold, and Wayne Bergeron just to name a few. He has also had the distinguished honor to perform for former presidents Ronald Regan and George Bush. Ray aspires to be the consummate musician.
FOR BEGINNER PIANO STUDENTS:
For students just starting out I use the Leila Fletcher Piano series, John Thompson, or Alfred series. After students are doing establish the basic and are doing well I introduce music theory and technique (scales, basic chords, and technical exercises) as well.
FOR INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED LEVEL STUDENTS:
I define intermediate level students as students who already have had 2 yo 4 years of lessons and experience and can already play pretty well. With this level of student I work on strengthening their foundation and rounding out and diversifying their skill set. usually with this level of student they have specific goals in mind that we work towards as well.
The intermediate level is also where various piano and music styles are addressed to include classical, pop, rock, R&B, country, blues, jazz (modern & swing) and Latin, contemporary christian, and gospel. The technical aspects of playing these styles like chords, chord progressions, scales, modes, licks and ornaments,technical exercises, sight reading, lead sheet interpretation, music theory, ear training, playing by ear, song form, and improvisation, intros & endings, and performance concepts and techniques are addressed as well.
Overall my students that apply themselves usually progress quickly and exponentially. some of them have went on to be professional musicians and band leaders and have far surpassed their initial intended goals and objectives.
A labor union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada. Founding in 1896 as the successor to the "National League of Musicians," the AFM is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians.