Teaching

I taught my first lessons at 16 at the suggestion of my band director, who was probably just trying to keep me out of trouble over the summer. As much as my teenage self hated to admit it, it was a remarkable and humbling experience, watching each of my small groups of students turn into small groups of saxophonists. Since then I've taught hundreds of students and thousands of lessons as a private instructor, and worked as a classroom teacher, band and choral conductor, musical theater director, and small ensemble coach, and given lectures on music and teaching to conservatory and graduate students, and at professional development events for teachers.

Many, many musicians teach only begrudgingly and out of financial necessity, even in major institutions of higher education (yeah, those ones). Teaching isn't an easy pursuit nor one for the dispassionate. With nearly 20 years of experience I've developed methods and curricula designed to cultivate meticulous musicianship, encourage and nurture the creative spirit and individual voice, and sow the seeds for lifelong learning and music-making.

"A teacher must tell his students something for the thousandth time with the same enthusiasm, clarity, and compassion as the first."

Beginning an instrument is an exciting and daunting endeavor at any age! Finding a good instrument, selecting materials, and establishing good playing habits, a positive practice routine, and specific, achievable goals are key to success. Just as important is discovering the music itself, both live and recorded, the way an artist gathers inspiration by wanking through a museum.

One of my teachers, Ken Radnofsky, plays with the Boston Symphony and teaches some of the best classical saxophonists in the world. He also has and continues to teach beginners. He would often ask his graduate students to come in on weekends to work with his younger students and ensembles. When I asked him about this years ago, he reminded me how important it was to remain grounded in teaching - as a teacher, it's easy to forget what it was like to know nothing.

What to practice? When? How much? How long will it take? Why am I not making progress? It all starts with reaching out.

Let's start by having a conversation about your music experience, interests, and goals. By discussing where you're at and where you want to be, we can come up with an action plan to get you there.

Private Lessons

Regular private lessons are the most effective way to make consistent and meaningful musical progress. Even if you're playing and practicing regularly, a dedicated time with a teacher provides a forum for the inspiration, feedback, and accountability to improve. Early lessons are focused on developing technique, sound, musicianship, and practice habits. As the student advances, lesson materials evolve based on student needs, interests, and my experience as an instructor.

Consistent practice, trust in the process, frequent absorbtion of music away from the instrument, and a little suspension of disbelief will lead to success.

I currently offer lessons in the Baltimore metro area in saxophone, flute, clarinet, jazz improvisation (on any instrument), and ear training/music theory/solf├Ęge.

Skype Lessons

Technology is an amazing thing with the power to bring us together in ways we could never have imagined a decade or two ago. I had never taught a remote lesson until I received an unsolicited request from halfway around the world in 2012. Skeptically I agreed to give it a shot, and have given hundreds of remote lessons since.

I offer jazz improvisation lessons for any instrument via Skype, specifically tailored to students wishing to take their jazz playing to the next level. Potential students are given an initial evaluation to determine if Skype lessons are appropriate for their level and learning style. Each lesson comes with a practice assignment in PDF format, specifically tailored to the student's needs.

A working webcam and microphone are required for remote lessons - tablet or computer preferred. An outboard USB microphone or XLR microphone is highly recommended, as they'll give the best representation of your sound. Backing tracks or apps (iRealPro, Band In A Box) on the student side are also recommended.

"We really appreciate your work with our son - though we are non-musicians we can hear the results!"

Dennis - Washington, DC

"We're so proud of our daughter for making Northeast District band this year! Thank you for teaching her all these years."

Lois - Boston, MA

"I'm grateful our daughter had such a good musical experience with you. She found the lessons to be a lot of fun and grew as an early musician - thanks for giving her such a great start with music."

Rachel - Bethesda, MD

"I have been accepted to school and will be coming to study in the US. Thank you, you have changed my life!"

Jason - Beijing, CN (Skype)