This month's Teacher Spotlight is
1. How old were you when you began to learn music?
When i was about 7 or 8, I took piano lessons for a couple of years, but then quit. In Sixth grade, i got really into drumming on my desk, which turned into drumming on a practice pad that my parents bought me, and it's something that i felt proud of and really enjoyed. I joined the school band in 7th grade and started to learn orchestral percussion, and began private drum/percussion lessons. My parents then made an ultimatum with me, that they would fully fund and support my drum and percussion study if I also gave equal time to the piano. I am forever grateful.
2. What music did you first learn?
J:Some of the same songs i teach my students today, from popular and folk music in the beginning books that we use, to the rudiment sheets that my drum students use. My skills and interest really started to take off when i got into, i would say three things:
1. More challenging classical and romantic era piano music, from Bach to Chopin to Rachmaninoff
2. Drumcore/marching drumline music in my high school marching band, including transcriptions from DCI drum corps like The Cavaliers.
3. Music that i learned with my friends in bands, from classic rock and blues covers, to progressive rock music like Rush and King Crimson.
4. How many instruments do you know?
I'm comfortable on Piano/Keyboards, Drums/Percussion, electric bass, guitar, ukulele, and as a vocalist. I also play a pretty mean Melodica.
5. What draws you to music?... Why music?
I think the draw has always been expression and connection. It started with connecting to music very strongly, being moved by it. Anything from Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini making me cry in my car, to hearing Nirvana's Nevermind album and being totally hooked on it for years. I wanted to learn to play these pieces, and pieces like them, and found that I also had the ability to express and evoke emotion in my performance that people connected with. I'll never forget the times when my father would sit in the living room during my piano practice time and just listen (and sometimes cry). It was great to share that FOCUSED time...being moved by something without words or images. No explicit story/narrative/punchline, just music that somehow made story/narrative/punchline/feeling happen...in the gut. In the heart.
6. What is your favorite style of music?
Tough one! I still love the Romantic and early 20th Century "classical" music including Rach, Chopin, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and similarly I love the influence that music like that has had on Film Score, being a big fan of film in general. But I also love and have been influenced by a lot of modern bands and artists, from Tribe Called Quest, to Wu-Tang, Stevie Wonder, Prince, MJ, Rush, Yes, Queen, Metallica, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Fugazi, Social Distortion, Radiohead, Eminem/Dre, Bruno, St. Vincent, etc...including a number of bands i know and have been in. Here's a fun Pandora station to start: Martin Denny.
7. How long have you taught at Temecula Music Teacher?
Roughly five years! Time flies!
8. What do you teach and what do you like about teaching music?
J: I teach piano, drums, guitar, bass, and ukulele. I'm happy to teach melodica too, if it comes up. ;) I love the bones of music, what makes it...from the harmonic and rhythmic theory, to the performance/malleability of it in the hands of different performers. I love good technique because it's a means to a very satisfying end. I enjoy ear training because it's a great challenge and one that opens people up to understanding what they're hearing. Ultimately, because i love making music, i love being able to share what knowledge i do have to others who want to make music, and i continue to be inspired by my students and their abilities, perseverance, and creativity.