I prepare my students to seriously tackle classical solo and chamber repertoire, or to play in funk dance band, or really whatever they want to do with pop, jazz, or classical styles. I have, I like to think, an exceptionally diverse musical background that gives me a deep understanding of music and a unique approach to teaching. I love teaching piano, and I am happy to approach the instrument in any number of ways, depending on the musical taste, strengths, and needs of my students. I'm 23, a recent graduate of Amherst College.
My greatest love is classical piano, which I have studied formally since the age of 8. I work as an accompanist, and I'm currently planning to work with some string players at UMASS. A student at the Mannes College for Music Conservatory Prep program in New York during high school, I chose a Liberal Arts education over Conservatory, but have not become any less devoted to music. During college, I performed at Master Classes, played chamber music extensively, composed prolifically, found work as an accompanist for concerts and recitals, and of course taught lessons. One of the most recent, exciting experiences was playing the principal piano part for the two-piano score of a brand new, student composed opera. I have also participated in programs at Kinhaven Music School and the American String Teachers Association's Chamber Music Institute.
I studied jazz for many years with the New Jersey-based "Jazz Connections" program, starting at age 13, and have picked up skills in a variety of ways, most notably at the Eastman School of Music, where I took intensive courses in jazz theory and composition. I have played in a variety of large and small ensembles, including my own "Summertime Trio" of voice, piano, and drums, for two years. I frequently play cocktail piano style gigs or sets with small ensembles for income. I like jazz because it suits my theory-based approach to piano.
In the past few years, I've played in a variety of bands, such as Evan Strauss' Bear Country, The Yumas, and Scratch 'n Sniff (the first can be found through a google search and the second two are on myspace). These have been mostly funk-oriented dance bands. In addition to giving me experience with the difficult task of making danceable music, these bands have allowed me to indulge my love of pop music. I have also recently experimented with pop and hip-hop production.
As a teacher, I train my students to be independent, well-rounded musicians, who know what aspects of music they want to study and have the skills to pursue them. I believe that a strong classical background, including good reading and theory skills, is important for everyone. At the same time, I also think there is a lot to be gained from teaching students to play pop songs from the radio by ear. Improvisation is very important to me, and I try to develop it in everyone. I love music theory, having studied it extensively at Mannes, Eastman, and Amherst, and it is built into my teaching style. However, for me music theory doesn't necessarily mean rules and exercises, but rather a way of developing the student's ear and sense of musical intuition.
I have experience teaching a variety of ages from 8 to high school to adult. I really enjoy working with kids. With some of my students, I give traditional classical lessons. With others, we work on a specific skill, such as jazz chord voicings. My favorite approach is an eclectic but focused mix that pushes the student forward in all of the areas that I think are important and enjoyable for them.
Usually my students come to me with some (often tiny) amount of piano experience, but I am more than happy to take beginners as well.
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