"As a teacher I believe in producing a constant creative environment, where the students can feel free to experiment without the fear of failure. I find that the fear of failure is a common and recurring issue with musicians of all levels of proficiency. But you not only learn from your mistakes, you can use them. I often play examples of the masters, like Coltrane or Miles Davis, playing what you'd technically call 'mistakes,' to show students how quickly they can turn into a musical positive. That can be very liberating."
"When students come in feeling that they don't know enough, I try to convince them that they already know a lot, and would be better off mastering whatever they already know. I tell them to master things at all levels—to strive for greatness immediately—and not wait until they 'know it all.'"
"I teach a wide range of ensembles. Instead of asking students to play 40 different tunes, I'd much rather pick a selected number of tunes with very specific challenges, so that they can memorize them. Therefore, when they do encounter something with a similar difficulty, they know what to do with it. Basically I try to teach students how to teach themselves."
"I push students as much as possible, but pride myself in assessing their limits, because I don't want them overwhelmed. Time management can be a major problem, so I try to coordinate with other teachers. If I know students have to work on arpeggio scales or chord voicing, for example, I encourage them to apply them to what we are doing. Or if they have to analyze a melody, why not a melody that we are doing in the ensemble? The idea is for theoretical classes to help the performing classes."
"Music is a journey without an arrival point, so we have to enjoy the trip. If they're not having fun in their practice, rehearsals, and performances, students will have a hard time achieving the freedom that will allow their music to reach any substantial artistic value."