I believe in providing a learning environment that promotes community, curiosity, spontaneity, trust, dedication, presence of mind, creativity, individuality, critical thinking, and camaraderie among students. We are sharing creative space every week and, as the teacher, my job is to nurture a climate of intellectual collectively, listening to the unique needs of each student. I hope to help the individual and the collective tap into their natural, uninhibited creative selves and provide a safe environment which inspires risk taking, sharing of ideas, true expression through improvisation, and the freedom to openly create and receive other's creativity.

In 1998 my teacher, the great Michael Carvin, introduced me to his primary teaching beliefs. "Each One, Teach One," and "To Become a Master Musician, You Must Pass It On." I have carried these beliefs into my own practice, promoting an open dialogue between student and teacher, and emphasizing the importance of mentorship, constructivism and a commitment to passing on the tradition.

I strive for excellence and expect the same from my students. The New School ideal honors the individual by bestowing them the responsibility of crafting their own program. This philosophy is directly in alignment with my beliefs: We trust in each student, with artist-as-mentor guidance, to design a program that will benefit and nurture the skills needed to advance in their own chosen career path.


By the very nature of Jazz itself, I use highly collaborative, integrative, student-based approaches to achieve the following pedagogical goals:

1. The Fundamentals:

• Develop a strong technical foundation; Achieve the musical dexterity and vocabulary needed to express oneself. We don't want our "lack of technique" to get in the way of our creative voice.
• Efficient and organized practice routine; Slow and steady practice with an abundance of repetition.
• Sound Production; Tone
• Rudimental proficiency and coordination, with an emphasis on creative expression, melody, time feel, and form. I come from a long line of traditional Jazz drumming pedagogy, studying with Michael Carvin and Lenny White. Michael studied with Philly Joe Jones. Lenny studied with Tony Williams. Philly Joe Jones studied with Charles Wilcoxin. Tony Williams studied with Alan Dawson. It is my duty to pass on the tradition of this musical family line.

2. Fluent in the Language of Jazz:

• Music listening sessions required: individual and group; Class discussion emphasizing the ways in which to listen to music and the characteristics of the music.
• Jazz History: It's not enough to solely study the musical characteristics of the composition. We must study the ontological roots within the culture and time the body of work was created.
• Memorization of the American Songbook and Jazz Classics.
• Ear Training: Compositions learned from recordings; not sheet music.
• Transcription requirements
• Consistent performance opportunities: The best way to become fluent in a language is to immerse oneself into the origin of the language and culture. Speaking the language of Jazz requires the same "deep dive" and students must perform and rehearse as often as possible.

3. Uninhibited Creative Expression:

• Fully access our creativity through spontaneous improvisation.
• I have developed and adapted a series of exercises that assist the student in accessing their uninhibited creative subconscious by consciously releasing socialized barriers. They also improve musical instincts, tackle technical issues, improve listening skills, and overall access to the creative mind. These exercises/games, sometimes cross-disciplinary, are also community builders. As the semester progresses, the community is strengthened, promoting a safe environment for self and group expression.
• Engage in an open conversation encouraging all students to critique their peers.
• Inquiry: Frequently asked questions: Why are you here? How does the music make you feel? How do want the listener to feel? What emotion/emotions are you wanting to convey? Are you in dialogue with your fellow bandmates? Can you sing what you are playing? Is there a melody? Does it feel good? What are you influences other than music? Are you present?

Teaching Experience:

I am currently part-time faculty at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, teaching Piano Super Trios, Drum Sight-reading (1A, 2A, 1B, 2B), Improv Ensemble, and Drum-set Lessons 1000/2000/3000. At The New School, I have also served on the audition committee, represented the Jazz School for alumni day's "New School Minute," served on the Executive Committee representing part-time faculty, and helped rewrite PL 2000 entrance exam requirements. Outside of my New School commitments, I am the Artistic Director of Jazz Camp West in La Honda, CA where I annually hire fifty two faculty, create and organize a one hundred and twenty class daily schedule, and direct the camp week. In it's thirty seventh year as a non-profit, with over three hundred attendees annually, Jazz Camp West maintains a pledge to transform lives through music.

In 2019 I served as Monterey Jazz Festival's Artist in Residency alongside bassist / composer/ producer Derrick Hodge. Through Monterey's graciousness we were given the opportunity to engage with hundreds of students over the course of the year. From 2004-2015 I held an adjunct position at Kutztown University in Kuntztown, PA., teaching privately, working with the big band, and giving masterclasses. While touring, I am committed to engaging in educational outreach, often visiting area K-12 schools and Universities and I continue to occupy a position on Yamaha's Top 30 Clinicians list, am an Arts Envoy to Thailand through my work with Jazz Education Abroad, and Modern Drummer Magazines's Pro Panel, contributing educational articles. I am a three time Jazz Ambassador for the United States, visiting Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Newly Independent States with the purpose of engaging in cultural exchange and educational outreach.

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