Teaching Artist Statement
Music Center of the Northwest is a self-determining, supportive, open environment where, no matter what your musical interest is, you can find an outlet for it. I teach here because I have been able to build my own jazz, rock, and guitar program from scratch (in collaboration with our executive director Michael Alstad) and I have had a blast doing it.
Guitar is my main instrument (electric and acoustic, classical and pop); my studio includes electric bass, beginner and intermediate level piano, and beginning drum kit. I also teach jazz and rock ensembles, jazz and classical music theory, basic audio engineering, and have a Ph.D. in music composition.
I find that students who enjoy working with me have strong individual motivations and musical drives, as well as a desire to determine themselves artistically. I don’t “instruct” students so much as point them in the right direction, and then endeavor to guide them to where they want to go by personal demonstration of my own abilities and how I built them.
As a teaching assistant in graduate school, I taught music theory and electronic music for three years at UC Santa Barbara. After graduating in 2007 I taught at Jensen’s Music in Santa Barbara for approximately 5 years before relocating to Seattle to work at Music Center.
I am a Godin guitar endorsee; in Santa Barbara I gave several clinics for Godin instruments. Video is available on my YouTube channel.
I pursued a Ph.D. in music composition for two reasons: 1) I was working on original research exploring the interface between cryptography, mathematics, and music for over a decade prior to being accepted to graduate school; and 2) I wanted time to exhaustively research the theory/composition world to see if I could find existing precedents or parallels for the work I was doing. I wanted to know everything there was to know about the craft of music composition. During that time I also continued playing piano and guitar extensively; I have approximately 36 years of experience as a guitarist, and over 40 as a pianist. Before, during, and after graduate school I continued giving private lessons on both instruments.
The cumulative effect of all my background experience has made me an extremely “literate” teacher. I am nothing if not thorough. I’m also extremely urbane, cheerful, and witty if you like that sort of thing.
Currently I perform regularly with Centerpiece Jazz Band, the Music Center’s resident faculty jazz ensemble. We play events all around the Seattle area.
Once I played electric bass as a hired sub for Jackie Lomax, otherwise known as “Liverpool Slim,” circa 2011, in Ojai, CA.