I am a composer, arranger, and producer with a continual appreciation for music and the arts. I embarked on my musical journey at a young age, receiving instruction in basic piano, moving on to study classical piano, and then learning jazz piano. I began writing solo compositions for piano as an early teen, and quickly thereafter learned how to use recording equipment. I also learned to play the saxophone as a child, playing in various elementary and high-school school bands. Often would my father, brother and I perform events held at our church as a saxophone trio, playing standard jazz pieces from the 1950s and '60s. While studying at Goucher College, I learned music theory, music history, and arranged several of my own pieces and a few original arrangements for the Jazz Ensemble. To culminate my degree of Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Music Theory and Composition, I received The Julia Gontrum Hill Award in 2009, for a promising career in music, and The Ruth Blaustein Rosenburg Prize in 2010, for continually composing creative works over many genres.
Aside from teaching, I enjoy writing poetry in various styles, exploring the visual arts of photography, sketching, pen and ink and watercolor, working on recording projects for friends and myself, as well as composing works on piano to develop and broaden my breadth of artistic and technical proficiency. I am also the keyboardist for a jazz/hip hop group called J Pope & Funk Friday. We have been playing local shows in Baltimore City for about 3 years at venues such as The 8x10, Joe Squared, Terra Cafe, Rams Head Live, The Windup Space, and many others.
*** Lesson Details ***
I believe that each and every musician naturally brings different ideas, skills and preferences to their instrument that subsequently comprise their musical identity or personality. Therefore, I believe that no student should be taught in exactly the same way as another student, because this would not bring out what makes him or her the unique musician they truly are. My goals of each lesson are to provide music that both stimulates an interest in learning, and challenges the student to progress meaningfully and with true enjoyment. My goal as a teacher is to keep students motivated and happy to play their instrument whenever they want to. Taking myself as an example, I truly began loving the piano when I was not necessarily playing the material my teachers were teaching me. It was through their instruction that I was able to think for myself behind the piano, and work off of what they taught me that week, learning from mistakes and often making these mistakes into something completely new, different and inspiring. I encourage students to take what they already know, keep an open and inquisitive mind about learning music through our lessons, and end up playing music they have both always wanted to play, and music they never thought they would play.
*** Studio Equipment ***
My home studio includes a 73 key Rhodes Piano, a synthesizer, and computer with recording capabilities that connects to a portable interface for recording any instrument. I also own a full size, 88 key MIDI keyboard.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect my students to either own or rent the instrument I would be teaching them, so they have the ability to practice at their leisure. I am able to bring my recording equipment, synthesizer, and MIDI keyboard.
*** Specialties ***
My musical style is described by most as "jazzy", which means that while the root of my playing is expressed through jazz harmonies, it also references many classical, blues, R&B, and jazz-fusion elements. I'm able teach any student these genres I am most familiar with, as well as how to improvise.
I specialize in teaching composition, improvisation, performance techniques and exercises, from basic to advanced music theory, as well as music technology.