I started formally studying guitar at age 3 and added electric bass and keyboard studies around age 8. By age 12 was working as the house guitarist for the local Dinner Theater and began giving lessons at a local music store at ae 13 (Music Rendezvous). Started teaching music theory, applied jazz guitar, applied bass guitar, Jazz Improvisation, and Arranging at the college level in 1993 and still do that as my primary source of income. I work steadily as a performing musician as well, most commonly in jazz settings but am capable in most any. I have a rather large amount of published studies, method books, recordings, and course outlines.
As an educator, my teaching philosophy is based upon the belief that it is important to instill both a curiosity and sense of self-confidence within the world of music. If I can achieve this goal, my hope is that I have been successful in fostering a sense of self-assurance within my students that will allow them to develop a sense of comfort and pride in their own musical personality as well as a respect for the musical personality of others.
Another very critical component of my teaching philosophy is the belief that all students need to feel a sense of relevance within the classroom. I am always conscientious of taking steps to make those of all genders, ages, and ethnicities feel comfortable with one another and more importantly, learn from one another. I try to do this in a way that singles no one out, but allows for the demonstration of relevant concepts generated from the unique backgrounds of volunteering individuals. For example, I taught a jazz improvisation class in South Florida with a largely Latino makeup. During the discussion of the clave rhythm, students from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador all demonstrated the ways in which the standard clave figures were commonly altered when used in the popular music of their countries.
As I employ a range of pedagogical strategies based upon the personalities, knowledge/skill level, and student make-up, I feel it is very important to assess the various teaching strategies to ensure I am effectively educating my students. I personally feel that by using assessment as a way to define strengths and weaknesses in my methods of instruction, I will continue to improve in my pedagogical approach. I believe it is paramount that I always remain a student myself in order to continue my own evolution as both a musician and educator.