Having an ear for music of all styles and genres, I had an interest in playing music and instruments at a very young age. At just 5 years old, I took my first piano lesson. I studied with that piano teacher for another 10 years, working on technique, theory and classical music, including playing piano recitals as a performer. I practiced piano to become a solo classical musician. Then in middle school, I joined the symphonic band where I was exposed and learned to play instruments in the percussion section, including drums, xylophone and marimba, and other instruments. At the same time, I joined the middle school jazz band. This was my first transition both as a piano player and musician into a new genre of music and playing. Needless to say, I fell in love with the music. In 2005, I auditioned and was the only pianist accepted into the classical piano department in the School of the Arts High School of San Francisco. There I went through rigorous classical training and learned vast amounts of repertoire. At the same time, I still studied and played jazz in the high school Big Band, Latin Jazz band and small jazz combo. It was during this time that I deeply focused on not only Jazz music and improvisation, but also Salsa, Latin Jazz, R&B, Funk, Pop. Basically all other forms and styles of music. I learned what it means to be in a band and how to make an ensemble sound good and to make an audience like and cheer for the music. I was lucky to have bands and musicians to play with all around San Francisco, including jazz festivals.
After graduating as the only student to study in the Piano department for 4 years in my graduating class, I was accepted with scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I started my first semester in 2009, and declared a Piano Performance and Jazz Composition Dual Major in 2010. At Berklee, I studied under amazing piano teachers to focus on my jazz playing and technique and repertoire. Some of the classes I took included music theory, ear training, composition and arranging, scoring and analysis, even guitar and bass labs. As well, I was the main piano player for the Berklee Salsa Ensemble for 3 straight years. I was also involved with bands and playing recitals, shows, clubs, outdoors and indoor venues throughout Boston and Massachusetts. I had the honor of being hired by Berklee to travel and play along with other selected students at the Carnaval de Barranquilla honoring Joe Arroyo. This was the most memorable musical experience for me yet, as I played along great musicians for hundreds of people in a theater, including Joe Arroyo sharing the stage with the band.
All of this experience and training is what I bring to my lessons and tutoring sessions. I teach my students how to prepare themselves for any kind of musical situation, from music theory and technique, to piano playing and repertoire, and understanding and playing all kinds of styles and genres of music. Most of all, I teach my students to be unique in their musical endeavors and to bring out their own voice through music. And the most important element of all, the happiness and joy it brings to the students and others.
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