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There are a few principles which guide my teaching style, no matter what the subject. The first is, "There is no piece of information so complex that it cannot be broken down into bites which are small enough for anyone to digest." If the student is cooperative, and the teacher is skilled at deconstructing the material, I do believe that anyone can learn anything.
The second is, "Begin where the student is." People come to me, especially music students, with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. It's important that their existing knowledge be the basis for our study together.
My teaching experience is very broad, from being a classroom teacher, to giving private lessons, to being a musical director, sometimes for children, sometimes for adults. And the largest part of musical directing is teaching.
I have been a composer for hire for well over twenty years. My clients range from Fortune 500 corporations, to wedding couples who want a first dance song that's all their own, to film directors who want underscoring, to choreographers.
The principles of songwriting and composition are the same in every style. Once you know what makes a good song, a good piece of music, you can apply these principles to any style you understand.
If you're reading this, you're interested in music. And if you're interested in music, your ears may be more trained than you think. let me help you make the connection between what you hear, what you already know, your instrument, and the printed page.
I've taught ear training at institutions such as The Circle In The Square Theatre School. Some of my students have used their skills to perform on Broadway, and some have gone on to secure deals with major labels.
I've been a professional musician for over thirty years. I play several instruments, compose, arrange, conduct, and more. I'm fluent in a number of different musical styles, and that's the part that helps me be an effective teacher. One of my influences was David Amram who was composer in residence for the NY Philharmonic, and also played with artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Charles Mingus. "It's all notes." I myself provided music for artists ranging from Shawn Colvin to Diddy to Jimmy Dean to Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Studying with me, we can approach music from any or every viewpoint, including the physics behind it (I'm a former Professor of Acoustics at Touro College).
I have four decades of guitar playing experience. I am especially adept at finger style guitar. If you want to learn how to use the guitar as a complete instrument, playing melody, bass, and chords all at the same time, talk to me.
Music Theory is not a dry, irrelevant topic. The best hip-hop songs follow the principles of music theory. So do the best film scores, the best bell sequences on slot machines, and the best folk songs.
I've been a pianist in many different settings, for several decades. I've played on Broadway. I've played in rock bands, country bands, jazz bands, polka bands, and more. I've been an accompanist for Opera singers.
I've taught many different styles, and taught to play with w ay I do; which incorporates a knowledge much broader than any one style. If you want to increase the depth of your understanding, learn how to think about music and play it in an entirely new way, talk to me.
Sight singing is easier than you might think. Everyone knows a number of melodies, and all melodies are made up of intervals. The distance from one printed note to the next is an interval. So it's only a matter of applying what you already know to the printed page. My combined background as a singer, musical director, and teacher make me uniquely qualified to teach you how to sing what's on the page.
Songwriting is communication. The principles of songwriting are the same in every style. When learning these principles, it's useful to deconstruct songs you like, and well-known songs, to see what makes them effective. Once these elements are fully understood, a songwriter can recombine them in their own style, to communicate what they want, and do it in a way that will make the listener both think and feel.
"If you can talk, you can sing," is part of a very old saying. And it's true. sometimes, all you need is some guidance and some practice.
Because singing makes such deep and complete use of the body, it is necessary to approach it in a healthful way.
This is the heart of my teaching philosophy.
1. Everyone can sing.
2. Start from where the student is, not from some "one-size-fits-all" point.
3. Keep it healthy.
I an currently one semester away from an MS in vocal pedagogy. I am a student of Dr. Sarah Hoover at Hofstra University.
Additionally, my voce teaching is informed by over 30 years of experience as a musical director. I've worked on Broadway, off Broadway, at regional theatres, conducting church choirs, and in many other settings.
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