As a young African American boy, I personally was brought up under my parents in the Church of Christ, being where I obtained my first love for any music whatsoever. I remember going to church every Sunday being excited more for the soulful hymns that were to come more than anything else that went on that morning. This inspired me to yearn for more understanding of this great art form we called music. I did not know what instrument or how, but I gained a very personal level of motivation to gain the knowledge needed in order to express myself properly.
To continue, being a more shy, quiet child, I was more influenced to do things by my peers at a young age. Sometimes more than I wanted, but that pressure alone inspired me to pick up the saxophone in the first place, and has been the best decision of my life to this day. In elementary school, I remembered the music educators from local junior high and high school teachers coming over to demonstrate musical examples of each instrument they were offering for you to choose from when you graduated elementary school. It was a very new and exciting experience for me because as I sat next to my best friend at the time, Steven, the woman demonstrating took out the saxophone, she played familiar songs I always loved to hear but never had a way to say how much I loved them— due to my shy personality. Steven at that movement felt the same and looked over at me excited saying “I’m definitely picking that instrument, man! How about you?” I replied (unsure of myself, actually), “Yeah man, me too—for sure!”
Interestingly enough, when we got to school, Steven ended up choosing choir, and I chose the saxophone, without knowing he had switched. I remember countless times going back and forth about whether to continue, but ended up sticking with it after my parents put forth their best effort to pay off my saxophone. I would practice hours and hours, recording in the practice log we were given at the beginning of the semester. I remember the minimum requirement was 30 minutes a day, and I adhered to this for about the first month of practice until I grew to enjoy just playing the instrument more than anything else. And so, I found myself slowly increasing the minutes I would record, from 30 to 45 to 60 minutes— then eventually I was practicing without thinking about it up to 3 hours in middle school, growing more curious each day!
Fast forward to high school, I am still a rather shy person and because of that, had obtained a greater inspiration to learn about my craft. Something about knowing more than others at a specific thing when I couldn’t express myself vocally just made me feel more confident about myself socially, I guess you could say. So I went through high school with actually the drive to become a basketball star freshman year. I remember trying out for the team and not making it. I was heartbroken and thought to myself, what’ll I do now? But actually, it inspired me to try something else. If you were in any type of sports team in highschool, you weren’t allowed to participate in marching band or jazz band due to scheduling conflict. Because I did not make the team, I ended up auditioning into the high school jazz band. Little did I know, this would be the career I would embark upon for the next 5-6 years. I competed in all regional competitions, placing first in the state eventually my senior year and continuing to pursue this music all the way into college where I attended the University of North Texas. Here is where I obtained the bulk of my motivation to grow. Finding myself in the practice rooms until 3 or 4am in the morning, being the first in and the last to leave the building every day. This drive and passion to find my own individuality not only led me on a journey of musical growth, but personal and spiritual growth as well. I continue to hone my skills here at Temple University in my last year and have only gained more inspiration and motivation!
More About Me
What I Teach: Saxophone, Clarinet, and Flute in Jazz and Classical Styles
Locations: Philadelphia, PA and Virtually
Education Background: Bachelors in Jazz Performance from the University of North Texas, Master in Jazz Performance from Temple University (2020)
Goals: To present a unique sound to audiences that pays homage to the previous innovators of the music he plays, while moving forward his own perception of melody, soul, and swing to bring forth a sense of community.