As a teacher: I run a busy private studio at the non-profit Uptown School of Music, of which I am the founder. I’m a very active festival adjudicator and clinician. I designed the youth ensemble program at the Waterloo Jazz Festival, which has run for about a decade and sent many students on to professional work. I frequently give coachings and workshops on the business of music, the process of collaboration, and the science and art of learning. I’m an examiner with Conservatory Canada and the United States Music Certification Exams in China.
As a performer: I’m most active as a contemporary chamber musician, soloist, voice accompanist, and jazz band leader. My trio is seen regularly at the Jazz Room, and I try to sit down in the recording studio with a colleague every year, if I can – this year, I’ll be recording with vocalist Amanda Kind and releasing some material with Miss Tammy Darling. I frequently work in musical theatre, most recently music directing for RENT and Spring Awakening. I have fronted a Ben Folds Five cover band, played keys in a Motown band, and toured in a group championing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, among many other varied projects and collaborations, totalling approximately 2,500 performances.
I’m a very passionate community builder, working frequently with arts organizations in production and advocacy, as well as providing opportunities to up and coming artists. For more information on my current project, visit: kwkiwanismusicfestival.com/lessons
I hold a BMus in Composition from Laurier, and a MMus in Contemporary Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
My primary research interest is in various aspects of learning and cognition – specifically memory, acquisition of physical skills, autodidacticism, motivation, and creativity as it applies to the learning process for traditionally non-creative knowledge sets (for instance, math or history).
A current passion is the examination of competition and its effect on competitors (particularly young children). I am in the design phase of a research project with other NYC-based academics to explore the effect of music competitions on the self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning in young music students, by establishing a free music festival (a rarity in the USA); this festival will help us to explore competitive vs non-competitive classes and their effect on students’ desire to continue pursuing music study.
I am always happy to meet with any student for advice on their career trajectory, collaboration, concert design, community outreach, and their own learning. Do feel free to get in touch, even if you’re not in one of my classes.
Students seeking ideas for arts admin volunteer opportunities, or other community outreach options, are encouraged to contact me.
It’s wonderful to teach at Laurier, where I studied for my BMus; our school taught me critical thinking, open-mindedness, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit. The composition and piano programs were very generous to me – I was encouraged to create projects with passion and imagination, and to pursue their completion with the mindset of an artist. I try to pay that forward by creating opportunities for student choice and tailoring my courses to the evolving needs of the members of my classes. My goal is to train students to master their own learning process, so they can be agents of change.
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