Musician - Educator
At the age of 8, I picked up my first guitar at the home of a family friend. Every time we would visit, I would pull that instrument out and strum away singing songs that I had learned at school. Things didn’t sound the way I wanted them to sound, however. I knew that I was supposed to be doing something special with my hands that would make the instrument work with what I was trying to sing. Soooo … I asked my mom if I could take some guitar lessons! Thankfully she said yes, and even more thankfully, she found a wonderful teacher named Bill Munday who had two great strengths - he knew his instrument, and he knew how to teach it to others.
I spent six wonderful years with Bill and grew to love our time together. One day, to my great sadness he turned to me and said, “I have nothing left to teach you. It’s time you moved on to work with someone else.” Since then, I’ve had many teachers in many parts of the world, but it was Bill that first set me on my path with this instrument. As a teacher myself now, it is my great privilege to continue the tradition that Bill passed on to me and to instill a lifelong love of this instrument into my students.
Since working with Bill, I’ve studied styles as varied as jazz, folk and rock, and traveled to Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, China and Ghana to live, teach and learn. I’ve continued to share music with others through recording projects, live music performances and as both a solo artist and band leader. I also write, arrange and produce my own music, in addition to contributing to the creation of music for others. I’m a founding member of local group “The Puffball Collective” as well as band leader of Organic and Fat Grass Corduroy.
My second passion in addition to performing and playing is in teaching others. A Bay Area native, I began my classroom teaching career in California in 1996, and after 5 years moved overseas to teach in International Baccalaureate schools in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Bejing. While overseas, I earned my master’s degree from Oxford Brookes in education with a thesis that researched creativity in music education. I also completed a course of study in Orff Schulwerk music pedagogy with Doug Goodkin at the prestigious San Francisco school. I supplemented those studies with both beginning and advanced Jazz Schulwerk intensives. Schulwerk emphasizes play, creativity, and full body participation in music making, and I use it’s principles extensively in both my school teaching and in private instruction.
I am currently the full time music teacher at Gateway school on the westside of Santa Cruz and am in my 7th year at this fine school. I work with students from kindergarten through grade 8 and teach from the most fundamental aspects of beat and rhythm to rock and jazz band. I’m very excited about our newest program at Gateway that will begin in the school year 2021-2022, a Shona style marimba ensemble. This will be the first ensemble of it’s kind at any school in the county!
I do studio sessions and recording work, both remotely and in person as well. Local musicians I have worked with include Gary Kehoe, Tammi Brown, Keith Greeninger, Michael Levy, Brian Moore, Terrel Eaton, Dan Robbins, Zack Olsen, Doug Dirt, Scott Cooper, Lachlan Kane, and Marc Sven, Aria DiSalvio, Renatta Bratt, and many others.
If you’d like to work with me in any capacity, please go to my Contact Page and drop me a line. Thank you!