"There is a big, all-inclusive, alternative strings styles movement, and I represent one corner of that movement, which is this idea that we should be able to play, go toe to toe, with any jazz instrumentalist. The violin is a frontline instrument; it can fit right in. The more of us that learn how to do that, the less it's going to be considered a fringe element. Hopefully, what I teach transcends the idea of playing jazz on the violin specifically. To paraphrase something Jean-Luc Ponty said years ago, I've always thought of myself as a jazz musician who plays strings as opposed to a string player who plays jazz. I'm trying to put a universal jazz vocabulary onto string instruments."
"String players have a reputation for having a lousy sense of rhythm. But the players I have met at Berklee are different because they love rhythm and are looking for a way to express that. They come here because they love playing rock, jazz, or Celtic music. The orchestra expands their rhythmic palette by exposing them to odd meters and the discipline for playing in a large ensemble."
"It's a huge challenge—a lifelong challenge—for a student to figure out which suggestions work and which ones don't. And because these things aren't instant, they have to take a leap of faith. So as a teacher you really have to feel authentic about what you're teaching. I do lean pretty hard on students to give something a try for a reasonable period of time, but then they have to make the decision for themselves whether or not it's working for them."
"I teach private violin lessons and a performance lab, which is run like a master class. Berklee students don't often have to stand and deliver solo violin music for one another. So in this lab, about every other week, each student is required to perform a solo piece in front of the class, be it a concerto movement, a Bach unaccompanied movement, or an étude. We do a general critique, and I work with the student."
"Harp students at Berklee receive traditional training in classical repertoire, études, and exercises. But they also get experience in jazz ensembles, both small and large. They learn how to improvise and make arrangements for the harp. They also learn freelance skills that they can immediately take into the world."
"Many string players come to Berklee with a strong background in classical music, but few improvisational skills. They read pretty well but interpret everything through a classical music lens. I help them work on the new skills they need to become strong improvisers and to develop a unique musical voice. Playing over changes, as well as hearing and expressing the subtleties that make one genre different from another, are core issues for me."