“As far back as I can remember I always knew I would end up doing something music-related, but it wasn't until I discovered music production and engineering that I truly found my voice. It fits like a glove, since it blends a highly creative and philosophical endeavor with a highly precise, tangible, and technical craft, and the convergence of those elements go totally in line with my personality and passions. I’m drawn to understanding people, emotions, and things, to figure out how to use and combine elements for an emotional outcome. That’s what I do in this profession: I communicate with musicians as human beings, try to really understand the emotional connection that moved them to make music, and figure out how to capture and bring out 110% of their message (and in doing so, also my own).”
"Students who get a composition degree learn how to write their music so that other people can perform it. Very often students have ideas and they don't know how to put them down. Sometimes they don't have the experience to connect their ideas. Or in many cases, they have too many topics. Most beginning students do overwrite. We teach the students how to develop an idea completely and how to trim away the excess. And the main thing is that the students do hear their work performed. Most of what they write can be performed right here at the college."
"I want to open up more possibilities for my students, more doors for their creativity. The first few weeks of counterpoint seems totally the opposite of that. It's very typical to hear complaints about how there are too many rules. But the result of experiencing that kind of discipline while creating music—having to be creative within a very narrow set of parameters—is that later on when you're free to do whatever you want, you still have this very disciplined method to apply to it."
Composition and production credits include major albums by renowned artists such as Paco de Lucía, Bebo Valdes, El Cigala, Enrique Morente, Wynton Marsalis, and the acclaimed Spanish singer Concha Buika
"My teaching style has always been one that encourages self-reflection and discovery. I like to push my students to be self-motivated. For me, it isn't about the grades they will receive, but rather the knowledge and skill set they can build on. Assignments always have the capacity to be completed to the level the student is capable of, and by witnessing other students' work, they can see different approaches to the same task. I'm never expecting to see students complete their assignments in exactly the same way as their peers."
"The listening aspect of music is probably the most important part. Ear training is all about comprehending what you are listening to and knowing how to analyze it. The goal is to be able to look at a piece of music and know what it sounds like without having to listen to it; or conversely, to listen to a piece of music and be able to notate it."
"Whether it's in private piano lessons, labs, or keyboard classes, I want my students to come away with a solid technical foundation. Good technique is important, not just for fluency but also to avoid getting hurt. Good technique, by definition, is efficient motion. It comes not just from the fingers, but also the shoulders and all the way down to the feet. The old Russian saying, 'You play the piano from your feet,' is really true. It would be absurd to believe you can lift a 60-pound suitcase with just your fingers. It's equally absurd to think you play piano with just your fingers."
"Choral Rehearsal Techniques is a really fun class. I structure it like a lab. I give students scores that they would use in a typical middle or high school choir, and they prepare them to teach. They learn the parts, the text, the conducting; they plan the most effective and efficient way to teach them. Then they actually teach and conduct the work, over a series of weeks. They get up in front of their classmates and teach them as if they were teaching a middle or high school class. They need to think a little differently, to imagine that they are not working with their professional peers, but rather with developing musicians. For example, they need to think: 'How would I approach this particular piece with middle schoolers, who have some reading skills, but maybe not extensive reading skills?'"
"I teach lessons for the Voice Department where I focus on vocal technique, assuring that students are singing in a healthy manner. The students are aware of my philosophy for warm ups: the more relaxed and flexible your vocal mechanisms are inwardly, the better your voice will produce outwardly. If you maintain your voice, keeping it warmed up using proper technique, your voice will be one of great longevity. I tell the students to treat their voices just as an athlete would treat their bodies before a game or a race. You wouldn't just wake up one day and say, 'I want to run a 26-mile marathon!' You have to properly prepare for it."
"I'm teaching two unusual classes. One is called Musical Independence, which is basically a class for singers to develop some piano self-accompanying skills and to think about putting a song together. Then I have a liberal arts class called Sound, Body, and Performance. It's a very comprehensive class, looking at a holistic approach to performing. We do a lot of hand drumming, movement, meditating, and breathing. It fulfills a science requirement, so there's a lot of reading."