"Learning to write music involves both the 'school approach' and the 'street approach'—just talking to people you're working with. I was influenced by teachers who were excellent writers and at the same time great musicians, and I was always asking them a lot of questions."
"Writing music and teaching complement each other. I need to focus on my teaching duties, but at the same time I have to keep producing in order to bring new ideas into the classroom. I like to bring my work in progress into the class. Also, I've got a few good friends who come to my class every time they're playing in town. Or they send me arrangements or compositions that sometimes I bring to class because I think they will be interesting to share with students."
"I encourage my students to do their homework as though they are going to use it as a professional somehow, somewhere. You never know. I show my students examples of assignments I did when I was a student that I still use. When I get ideas, I go back to my archives, and I can often put together whole songs very quickly."
"Just recently I went to the studio to record my ensemble. A former student I haven't seen in years, who's now a recording engineer, was doing my recording session. And she was using in the session all the information she remembered from my classes. Things like that—that's the beauty of this job."