T E A C H I N G
S T A T E M E N T
The primary role of the teacher is to guide the developing artist to the resources & practices that will best help them express their experience, their truth. I believe in giving students a solid technical & theoretical grounding appropriate to the style and period, but without overprescribing manners in which to use those tools. Students I think should be given the appropriate concepts in which to approach the music, but I believe our own individual voices blossom when confronted with the problem of actually putting these ideas to practice.
In my teaching style, I focus on encouraging students to be curious and flexible. In lessons, I push students to think beyond ideas like “jazz harmony” or “bebop language”, and instead to develop a fundamental understanding of melody and harmony, adjusting the application of those ideas to their own interests. This may include but is not limited to the study of classical repertoire, common-practice harmony, transcriptions of improvised solos, composition etudes, & more. I very much believe in the study of these raw ideas in the abstract, helping students find ways to employ these ideas where they see fit, or where I see them benefitting most. However, if a student is interested in pursuing a particular style, or must meet the demands of a particular style of music, we will break down the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements that give playing in that way its authenticity.
In my own personal experience, the pedagogy of healthy & optimal technique jazz in guitar education in academia rather lacking. It is very important to me that students are interfacing with the instrument in a healthy fashion that is conducive to longevity, continued technical progress, and a heightened level of body-awareness. I identify mechanical obstacles in both hands, as well as issues of bodily tension to work towards effortless, stress-free playing. This also includes giving students neurologically optimal & safe approaches to demanding music.
Above all, I’d like to validate students in being comfortable in their own skin. Their idiosyncrasies are valuable. They can play whatever type of instrument speaks to them. It’s okay to be influenced by everyone & everything. These are the things that make the life of the artist whole, & it is my chief concern that these ideals are inextricably linked to the educational process.