"I was the only person in my family who never had any formal music education. In fact, I didn't learn how to read music until my freshman year at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This was my first experience with real music education. I was so excited and driven to learn, I never even went skiing. Up to that point, my music education was from other musicians and through copying what I heard on records. Eventually I began to create my own tunes."
"Although my departmental affiliation is in the Jazz Composition Department, my teaching profile has me adjunct in the Harmony, Contemporary Writing, Ear Training, and Ensemble departments. This allows me to take a cross-curricular approach in the classroom. Whatever the topic, I can present the material from each area. This makes the education process very successful."
"In the spring, I offer an ensemble called Chord Scale Madness. This little big band (10 piece) performs original student compositions and arrangements. It's sort of a mini-competition in that students submit their scores to me, and I work with each student to fine-tune their arrangements. The band then plays them and we pick the ones we think would present the most interesting concert. We perform that program in the Berklee Performance Center and other venues at the end of spring semester."
"Teaching is like performing for me. I bring a lot of energy into the classroom and like to share that energy with my students. It's also very improvisational in that I am not afraid to let the dynamic of the class set the direction we go in. I like to see the light shining; I can really tell when I'm connecting. I teach the advanced ear training classes, and one of the things I do with my students is to ask them go back and look at their earlier workbooks from past semesters. Upon review, they quickly realize, 'That's so easy now!' It's very reassuring to them—and it's a way of curing the frustration you can have when you're always trying to learn something new."