I am currently accepting students in Bothell, Bellevue, and beyond, including online Skype lessons; email me for more information.
I have taught privately for nearly 20 years, helping clarinetists of all ages pursue their musical goals and improve their musicianship. My experience includes teaching lessons and master classes in the school districts of Keller and Argyle, TX, and working as professor of clarinet at DigiPen Institute of Technology, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and as teaching fellow at the University of North Texas. My middle and high school students frequently achieve honors in solo competitions and all-state bands, and several of my students have been accepted to undergraduate music programs on scholarship.
A dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, I hold my students to high standards and enjoy helping them meet those standards. Lessons focus on immediate goals such as preparing for solo and ensemble competitions; long-term goals like improving tone and technique or taking an audition for college; and comprehensive musicianship including music theory, and history, famous clarinetists, and musical terminology.
At each level, from beginner to advanced, I work with the student to set clear goals for practice time and areas of improvement. Lessons are primarily a time for constructive criticism, guidance about technique, and exploration of musical ideas, and it is expected that the student will make significant progress each week through daily practice sessions on their own.
Students have a variety of ages, learning styles, and strengths and weaknesses. These individual traits will be assessed by the student and myself to come up with reasonable goals for each semester or year. I take great care in tailoring instruction to each student’s unique talents or deficiencies while taking into account their career goals. This approach makes lessons enjoyable and productive for both of us.
Above all, as a teacher I strive to quickly identify problem areas in a student’s playing and help them to solve these problems. If one approach is not effective, I will try numerous other ways to explain or demonstrate a concept until I find the one that works in that particular situation. Feedback from my students constantly helps me to refine my pedagogy. My pragmatic approach (as opposed to dictatorial) allows students the freedom to express themselves — as long as they can back up their interpretations with theoretical concepts and a committed musical performance. I encourage my students to seek out masterclasses or even lessons with other clarinet colleagues, and help them to understand any differences they may encounter. My end goal is for the student to be able to teach themselves and others.
While development of clarinet technique and musical style is the foremost goal in most lessons, any given lesson may include a foray into music theory, history, language, acting, anatomy, or any other related topic that is relevant to the day’s lesson. A complete understanding of phrasing is based on harmony and rhythm in addition to melody; optimum breathing technique requires a conscious understanding of the human body. My students and I both find these “diversions” fascinating and helpful in gaining new perspectives on their music and clarinet playing. My students leave my studio not just as better players but also with a certain level of comprehensive musicianship.