Who we are
I got my start doing music in the church thanks to my curious hands that someone mistook for interest in their instrument. Thankfully, that misunderstanding turned into a lifelong, passionate learning adventure in the music world.
I went from playing music for my youth group as a kid to making it the focus of my education, attending the Los Angeles College of Music (formerly Los Angeles Music Academy). While my focus was mainly pop going into music school, being exposed to all types of music while attending there greatly broadened my musical range and vocabulary. To my chagrin, before going into music school, I probably had one outright prejudice and that was country music. Low and behold the first gig I got out of music school was for an up and coming country artist.
My touring footprints have taken me all throughout North America including almost every state (still waiting to play in Hawaii). While working as a session player I've gotten to earn a couple of gold records. Over the last 20 years I've had the pleasure of performing or recording with these lovely people: Jeremy Camp, Evan Wickham, Phil Wickham, Justo Almario, Takeshi Nishimoto, The News Boys, David Ornette Cherry, Upright Citizens Brigade theater pit jazz combo, Open Fist Theatre, Phil Ranelin, Ralph "Buzzy" Jones, Michael Sessions, Fritz Wise, Don Littleton, CJ Simmons and many more.
My main teaching focus has been with guitar, bass and ukulele with kids from 5 to 18. The proudest moment of my teaching resume was getting to co-lead a world jazz workshop at California's prestigious CalArts school alongside jazz legend Justo Almario and world jazz musician David Ornette Cherry, but every time I see one of my students really get a new concept, I feel just as proud.
As the story goes, my first musical stage was the shopping cart at the supermarket. And while my family expected a musical child, even they didn't expect the breadth of instruments and musical disciplines I would pursue. A good deal after my toddling "in store" showcases, as a teenager I went on to perform on television and all sorts of venues, including LA's prestigious Greek theater. As an adult I've spent time singing alongside members of the LA Opera and Master Chorale and coaching the kids I teach to be able to reach for the people, experiences and stages they dream of.
At 6 years old, piano was my first instrument. Later, I would go on to play all manner of woodwinds. Finally, I trained classically in voice. As a piano teacher, I'm very happy to be utilizing the Suzuki method as part of my curriculum; a method with a long, rich heritage of musical development and excellence, made specifically for kids and a rich part of my own childhood. My private vocal studies were with the late Erv Windward, one of the most influential innovators of voice pedagogy in southern California, who not only headed the vocal department at UCLA for many years, but also founded a school for the Arts in Los Angeles with his wife Shirley. His instruction helped me to understand how to teach children to develop as singers without hurting their vocal chords, since our voice's structures don't fully peak until an age between 25-35. Erv's "Vocal Athletics" method can be used to strengthen and refine all the muscle and tissue sets one uses to sing, preparing them to sing in any style they choose.