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"Ensembles are all about relationships. At the beginning of the semester, we sit down together and I ask everyone to tell me about themselves: Where they come from, what they like personally and musically. In order to play with your peers, you have to know something about them. It brings cohesiveness to the class.
"It is important that everyone in the ensemble communicates what they like and what they don’t like, musically. One of my priorities is that, when we play a song, I go around the room and get everyone’s opinion. I want everyone to tell me how they thought the song went, to improve the music. Everyone’s opinion is valid. And this process furthers the class.
"In order to appreciate what is happening in music today, you have to study the music of the past. In an R&B class, for instance, I will bring in songs from older generations, the '60s, '70s and '80s. I want students to have that balance of appreciating what happened in the past and understanding what is going on in the present.
"I believe that the more students enjoy the class, the more they will learn. I’m very passionate about feeling the vibe of the music. If the music doesn’t feel good to the person playing, it’s not going to sound good to the person listening."