I am a professional community musician. As a Guelph, Ontario, Canada based saxophonist, I perform in a wide variety of musical collaborations; including 2009 and 2015 Juno Nominated Eccodek, Big Bands, smaller jazz combos, and creative music ensembles. I have performed and recorded all across Canada, the UK and Germany, at music festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and London England to name a few.
I have released three recordings of my own compositions; “It’s About Time” in 2006, “IZ” in 2012 and “Where is Local” in 2016. I compose and arrange music for many of the groups I direct. I am the founding director of the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble and the New Horizons Band for Guelph. I teach courses in the Bachelor of Music in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University and woodwind and jazz improvisation techniques at my private music studio.
I am a clinician and adjudicator at music camps and festivals throughout southern Ontario, specializing in saxophone and improvisation concepts. I hold a Master of Arts in Community Music, from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of Music from Humber College and a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
Mindfulness and Empathetic Considerations for Music Ensemble Directing As a director of a musical ensemble, when performance is part of the process, it can be challenging to listen to the group and understand how to approach learning the music. Essential tools for the director are; deep listening, patience, respect, trust, authenticity and humour. Awareness of the group’s needs, wants and abilities is fundamental for developing cohesion within the group and trust between the director and the group. An empathetic director who understands this can lead more informed musical/rehearsal choices in order to achieve the musical goal.
Susan Smalley and Diana Winston state “A classic definition of mindfulness often includes the words non-judgemental, open, accepting, and curious to describe the attitude you can cultivate when in this state” (Boyce, 2011, p. 15). For me this sounds like one of the most important principles of Community Music. I feel that a director who practices mindfulness and empathy can provide a more meaningful musical experience for an ensemble. Recognition of the moment without judgement is essential for mindful practice and an empathetic approach to music ensemble directing. It is about the journey and growth of the participants, the product is important as it provides a sense of accomplishment, completeness and acknowledgement of the consistent hard work put in, but the process is what deeply develops or allows for growth of the individual, ensemble and community.
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