Preferred student level: Any age.
When did you join the faculty at Sherwood?
What do you want to impart to your students through your teaching?
Passion! I hope my students learn to love music and be passionate about it. Whatever else they choose to make a part of their lives, I want them to make music a part of who they are. I want them to be able to turn to music in times of need because I believe it can be healing. Music can express feelings and emotions that words can't.
Are there specific methods or techniques that you use in your teaching that may be important to share with prospective students?
I use the Socratic Method by asking a lot of questions to help the students process the material. Otherwise, I use whatever method or technique I feel is appropriate for the student at the time.
Briefly describe your musical pursuits outside of Sherwood.
As a percussionist, I primarily focus on drum set and vibraphone. I play classical, jazz, Latin, funk, blues, and many other styles, but tent to lean more towards improvised music. I love living in Chicago because of its wonderful music scene, especially jazz!
What is your earliest musical experience or best musical memory?
I remember banging on pots and pans when I was very young, maybe two or three years old. I also remember winning a radio music competition when I was in the fourth grade. I won two free tickets to see Whitney Houston and they played my drum solo on the radio!
Please describe one of your favorite teachers or mentors.
Mr. Matta, my eighth grade band director, had a profound impact on me. He not only taught me how to be a great musician, but also to love music. We are still close friends and he has been my mentor throughout life. He has made me a better musician and a better person.
What is your favorite type of music?
I love many different styles and periods of music. While I am primarily a jazz and classical musician, I love Latin, Afro-Cuban, funk, reggae, blues, Brazilian, Indian music. My favorite composers are George Crumb, John Cage, Ravel, Shostakovich, Dvorak, Samuel Barber, Maria Schneider, Carla Bley, and Astor Piazzolla. I also consider improvisation a form of instantaneous composition and have great admiration for musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bobby Hutcherson, Grachan Moncur III, Ornette Coleman, and Red Norvo.