American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker said, Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. This sentiment shaped my views on music and its performance. One of my great pleasures in life is sharing an appreciation of music.
I had always been a part of music. My father played trumpet, my mother could play guitar and carry a tune. They believed music was an important part of life so they started me on piano at 5 years old. And I've been playing that ever since. I started learning to sing in my middle school chorus when I was 11 years old. I really liked it and I liked it more when I would sing my mother and father's favorite songs and see them smile. So I listened to a lot of singers and vocalists that they liked and learned by emulating them and applying what I was learning in chorus. My piano lessons helped grasp the theory behind music and gave me a good ear for pitches.
I studied voice at the University of Maryland College Park School of Music. In their chorus I had the pleasure of learning and performing many wonderful pieces such as Verdis Requiem and St. Matthew's Passion. During that time I had chance of playing with the University Jazz Band as both their pianist and as their jazz singer. I even arranged my own version of Too Darn Hot by Cole Porter that was performed by the band in 2007.
I also work a lot with musical theatre. I've been in a number of shows in Maryland including Rent and Hairspray, and Into the Woods. I also free lance as a music director in the area. I've been a music director for 10 years and I love every minute of it. My music director credits include Children of Eden, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Annie, Grease, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, And the World Goes Round, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Wizard of Oz, Jekyll & Hyde for which I was nominated for Outstanding Musical Direction in 2011 and Ragtime for which I was named one of the "Best of 2013: Favorite Musical Direction" by DC Metro Arts and won WATCH Award for Outstanding Musical Direction.
I believe that to get as good as you want to be, of course you have to work at it, but there's no reason that you can't enjoy learning it.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to be able to teach you soon.
*** Lesson Details ***
Practice makes perfunk. This is a saying that was always hanging on my band teacher's door in high school. It was a reminder that it requires work to get something right, but you need to take breaks and relax a bit too. That's how I feel about teaching in general. Constantly working and being worried about getting it just right can lead to bad habits. So I make sure that the lesson is balanced between a relaxed atmosphere and an effective working environment.
I can teach a variety of styles. But I like to always make sure that the fundamentals of singing are solid regardless of whether you want to sing classical or jazz or pop. So I go into:
Proper techniques for breathing
Creating good tonal sounds
I believe that singers have a greater advantage if they are able to read music and understand theory. I believe that it makes learning music by oneself much easier as well. So I also have the option to go into basic music theory (i.e. reading music notation and rhythms) to advance music theory(i.e. roman numeral analysis, ear training, harmonic progression) if you choose to do so.
For intro to piano, I follow the same structure as beginning singers and also start with the fundamental basics that will help lead into whatever style you wish to play:
How to read music
Understanding basic music theory
how to play what you read
For both piano and singing: After some basic training, I start to give a variety of different style songs to work with. I do encourage student to bring songs they want to learn and tailor lessons around that particular song and style. I like them to learn 2 songs per lesson increasing to 3 or 4 depending on the pace of the student and the amount of workload they feel they are able to handle.
I do believe that listening to music is part of the learning process so every few weeks or so I like to give the student 1 or 2 YouTube clips I found and have them watch it then come in the next week and we discuss the video both good and bad and what they can learn from it.
As they progress the songs get more difficult and we start really honing in on the techniques of the production of sound as well as performance aesthetics, as in how to create a presence on stage, how to project the sound more, overall how to give a good performance.
Some of my past students would use the lesson time to learn about auditioning for musicals and stage productions. If the student has any such desire all they have to do is ask and I will set aside time to work on how to audition for shows and what most music directors look for when they hear you sing. For those who don't, I like to give the option to give a recital if the student feels comfortable to do so. It would be held in a local studio, very casual affair just to give the student that experience of music as a performing art.
Note: I do teach at my home. I do have pets, 3 guinea pigs and a cat. If this is an issue, I can also travel to the student home.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Music room with keyboard and office equipment. Seating for parents.
**She has a cat, and some guinea pigs**
*** Travel Equipment ***
Teaching piano: I own a weighted keyboard suitable for instruction.
Teaching voice: I can accompany the student as they sing
*** Specialties ***
In piano I tend to teach classical, but I do move away from that after they've grasped the basic technique and theory to how to sight read and improvise, even play by ear.
In voice, I start with basic classical technique and after they've grasped the fundamentals of good vocal production, branch out into different styles of music from straight classical/opera to Broadway to jazz to pop and r&b.
This company is an outlet for youths to express themselves through music theatre. Through the rehearsal process children are challenged to think about how to analyze the characters they portray, the emotional journeys each one takes and the story they each tell as well as the relationship to each other character in the plot. Given many opportunities to shine in each production. On my own end, everyone learns not just to sing songs well, but how to use the emotional journey they discovered to give depth, substances, and wonderful color in to songs they sing, as soloists and as a whole ensemble.
I'm the music director for some of BRAVO Productions Youth Theatre company. We encourage youths to learn about all aspects of the theater and how to use the skills to create a beautiful world on the stage. Through this company, I also teach the Fundamentals of Singing I and II, where in a group setting youths can learn the very basics of singing technique and how it can be used in solo and ensemble performance setting. They also learn how best to use these skills in a musical theatre setting, and many time coincide with the production running concurrently so they can use what they learn in real time performance settings.