TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Teaching, like music, is a verb, not a noun. And it is this philosophy and genuine enthusiasm for seeing my students grow in their love and appreciation of this craft that guides my teaching. I like to tell my students that I teach a "how" and "why", not a "what." 

When it comes to teaching jazz specifically, my approach centers jazz as a language, not a set of harmonies, rules, and scales. While these things are important, they are merely the tools we use to shape our expressions in this sonic language, not the language itself. Here are some key aspects of my teaching:

  • Rhythm as a focal point in jazz improvisation coursework and ensembles. 

  • Deep study of the Jazz Tradition with an emphasis on intentionality in process rather than just a body of repertoire.

  • A focus on intentionality and practices of improvisatory consciousness. 

  • An emphasis on composition and improvisation as creative manifestations of individuality.

  • Vocal and linguistic modalities of pedagogy that drive students' assimilation of the jazz language. 

  • An emphasis on the sociocultural context of jazz that informs its study and practice.

  • An emphasis on learning in community. 

  • Encouraging students to bring their whole selves into their learning.

  • Blues-based improvisation pedagogy that pulls from the entire tradition of Black American Music. 

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