I was fortunate to grow up in a house that encouraged music of all kinds. This allowed me to try many different instruments and make music with my family members. When I was young, I started taking piano lessons, and while I enjoyed these lessons, I was always interested in creating my own music and understanding how music was organized. This led me to take private drum lessons, which fostered my interest in improvisation and exposed me to other genres of music such as jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. Growing up I began playing in a band with my four best friends and this gave me my first experience collaborating with other musicians and composing songs with the group. We ended up writing three CDs worth of music and were featured on 102.9 MGK‘s breakfast with the Beatles with Andre Gardner.
Towards the end of high school I began to focus on my studies on music theory And composition, working with a private teacher and eventually studying at Temple University. It was a Temple that I found my passion for teaching when I was selected to be an undergraduate TA through the Diamond Peer Teaching Program. This teaching experience was carried over into my studies at the Peabody Conservatory, where I was a graduate assistant in music theory and graduate teaching fellow. This passion for teaching fueled the pursuit and completion of a second Master’s degree in Theory Pedagogy.
Towards the end of my doctoral coursework I began to try and reconcile my musical past, which traversed several genres and instruments, yet these different aspects of my musical self were separated in my day-to-day musical activity. However this changed when I started working with Dr. Omar Thomas, now Professor at U.T. Austin‘s music program. Professor Thomas organized the music theory courses around connecting seemingly distant musical genres together through music theory, traversing the academic disconnects between different strands of music theory. It was this experience that inspired my teaching practices with my students, creating an environment that allows students to explore multiple genres of music and build general musical understanding and appreciation when learning their instrument of choice.
Alongside my graduate studies I also started teaching at a music studio outside of the Baltimore area that taught me how to work with students of all ages and Promoted a fun and engaging atmosphere for students. I feel that these different strands of my musical career have converged to produce fun and engaging lessons that teach students not only how to play an instrument but how to understand and appreciate music in general. I also make it a point to teach my students how to improvise so that they can connect and inspire their peers around them with music directly from their hands.