As the world and the music industry change, one fact remains true: the dedicated cultivation and pursuit of inner excellence improves the lives of all. My teaching is an outpouring of my pursuit of this ideal in my own professional practice, and manifests in concrete ways throughout the student-teacher relational period and (hopefully) beyond.
Music is best learned by listening. My first priority is the teaching of the ear. Many disciplines converge on the principal that in most cases the body is capable of delivering what the brain “orders” and does so most efficiently with little or no manipulation. This instinctual musicianship is honed by deeply studying the great recordings, by careful back-and-forth playing with me, and by developing a personal organizational process that encourages habitual growth and focus. Sometimes our instinct needs adjustment, but the goal is always to go back to making music with passion and zeal.
In this pursuit, students should be well-rounded and aware of the great diversity of ideas and culture around them. Without many avenues of exploration, students cannot develop the wide breadth of experience and confidence necessary to hear and create the nuances of great musicianship. I encourage students to play all styles of music and to pursue other areas of interest, especially technology and math, culture, language, and other art forms. I encourage fluency in at least one other language, travel and study abroad, and I leverage my international community to bring these items to my studio in the form of guest masterclasses. Although not germane to our limited time together, I also encourage the pursuit of a rich technological skillset, including coding skills, recording, and web development. These pursuits are not separate from making music, nor is music separate from other pursuits; each builds on the others and creates a smarter, more self-aware student.
Finally, I teach that music is a worthy pursuit and adds value to the world. It is one of my core principals to assist students in discovering their path to inner excellence, and then to contribute their excellence to the world around them. It is my firm belief that the pursuit of financial wealth and outward career success do not themselves equate to a cycle of self-actualization and fulfillment. I work with students to discover what truly drives them, and help them discover and apply techniques to fully activate themselves in their pursuits. I also work with my students to discover how their work can enrich others.