Where did you receive your education? BA, Music Theory and Composition - Elmhurst College. MM, Saxophone Performance - DePaul University.
What is your hometown? The first half of my life I lived in Bonnyville, AB, Canada, until my family moved to Bensenville, IL. I now enjoy living in Westmont.
What is your preferred age to teach? Any age.
What is your preferred student level to teach? Any level.
How long have you been at Sherwood? I started in March, 2011.
What do you want to impart to your students through your teaching? It is very important for students to realize, and work up to, their potential. A lot of people think of music as a mysterious and difficult craft, but that’s just not true. The more you do it, the more you realize what a natural and beautiful part of your life it is. Also, the skill and discipline developed while studying music is applicable to any other part of your life. At times, things may seem overwhelming or even impossible. But if you break things down into manageable pieces and apply the right mindset, you can literally accomplish anything. “I can’t” is never a true reflection of who you are or what you can do.
What do you most enjoy about teaching? I love seeing students grow. From one week to the next you don’t always see improvement, but when you look back over the course of a year you can see how far they’ve come. Hearing a student that’s been studying for several years play, and reflecting on how much they’ve developed into their own musician, is more rewarding than any of my personal accomplishments.
Describe your musical pursuits outside of Sherwood. I gig regularly, primarily as a soloist or with my sax trio, TriTone, and also sit in with several groups throughout the area. I am an active composer and arranger and usually have several compositional projects going on at any given time. I maintain a very large private studio in the western suburbs, and have done dozens of clinics throughout the Chicago area, working with middle school, high school, and college students.
What is your earliest musical experience or best musical memory? I grew up in a musical family, so music has always been a part of my make up. I don’t know that I’d call it my “best” experience, but my most personal experience happened recently, when I received some horribly tragic news about somebody close to me. I remember sitting on the phone with my mouth open, feeling completely numb and helpless. As soon as I hung up I just started writing, and in less than an hour wrote a piece more honest and powerful than anything I’ve ever done. The purity of that moment is something I’ll never forget, and gives me chills every time the piece is performed.
Please describe one of your favorite teachers or mentors. I’ve had a lot of great teachers and I feel like singling one out above the others wouldn’t be fair. That would be like a picking a favorite parent or sibling. I think more than anything, channeling life experiences back into my music has gotten me to where I am today, so if you forced me to pick a favorite teacher I would have to say “life”!
Who is your favorite composer or what is your favorite musical period? We are currently in my favorite musical period. Not that we’re necessarily creating the best music in history, but we have access to infinite sources of music. If I don’t like what musicians/composers are currently doing, I can look up any composer in history and be listening to their music in an instant.
About you: I’m a huge Bears fan and an even bigger Edmonton Oiler fan. I love hockey and play at least one game a week. During the summers I also play softball, but I don’t enjoy watching baseball. I have an affinity for video games, though finding the time to actually play has become almost impossible. I have a cat named Magnus that understands English and can jump 6 feet vertically.