1. How long have you been teaching at Metro Music Makers, and what do you teach?
I've been teaching piano, songwriting, recording and voice with Metro Music Makers since August.
2. What is your first musical memory?
I’m from a family of musicians, so I’ve always been around live playing. I remember my grandad and his band friends having jam sessions in his living room as a toddler. My most notable memory is when my parents purchased a piano for my mom about the time that I turned four. She played a song and after she left the room, I immediately began finding and playing the melody by ear.
3. What was the first album you bought?
My first album was purchased when I was seven. Three Dog Night’s Naturally with the song "Joy to the World." I had an aunt who was a teenager at the time so I discovered it because of her. It was definitely not a digital download. Although I don’t still listen to it, I’m planning to begin investing in vinyl again, so I guess it should be one of my first purchases.
4. Who are you listening to right now?
I listen to a huge mix of music, but always gravitate to singer/ songwriters. Brandie Carlisle, Josh Ritter and Jason Isbell make it onto my playlist almost every day.
5. Why do you love teaching?
I am an enthusiast, enneagram 7 who thrives on inspiring others. I love helping students grow through encouragement and love getting to teach them how to do things that lead to breakthrough moments that we experience together.
6. Who inspires you as a musician?
Lin-Manuel Miranda hands down. I am so drawn to his intensity, brilliance and tenacity. I love the scope of what he is able to create from incredibly intricate crafted lyrics to uncharted visionary production.
7. What musical accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’ve been able to do many things in my musical career as a writer, performer, teacher and conductor. I think the creation and producing of a few musicals that allowed me to combine all of those things at once would be the most rewarding so far. I have to say though, the fact that I have a son who is an amazing musician, songwriter and successful recording artist is what makes me the most proud.
8. Tell me about one of your best moments as a teacher.
I can’t choose one, but recently I walked in as one of my teenage students was playing. He had taken all of these techniques I’ve been teaching him about building his own piano solo arrangement and applied them, on his own, to a song that I’ve never heard... AND he was sounding like a pro. That’s what keeps bringing me back.
9. What’s the latest in your own music world?
Right now I have a few Christmas gigs lined up with my wife who is a singer. I’m also writing a new Christmas song. I do that almost every year because the story of the incarnation always inspires me, especially when this season comes around. I’m also working on playing the solo version of "Rhapsody in Blue" and hope to perform it online sometime in the spring.
10. What’s the latest in your world outside of music?
It’s been a great month. I just went hang gliding for the first time and it was AMAZING! I also just purchased my first motorcycle after finally getting the green light from my wife. I love it as much as I envisioned, and I’ve already been using it to commute to lessons.