"Music is always a spiritual thing to me—something I was always involved in. I was self-taught; I used to just sit down with the radio, listen to different artists, and try to pick out the notes. In college there were some things I struggled with, even on a personal level, and had some family members question the path that I was taking. But I always went back to, 'I know this is what I'm supposed to do; this is the only thing that makes my soul happy.' So I tell my students, 'Don't ever lose the inspiration of what calls you to music. You know within yourself what that is, so always keep that in the forefront.'"
"I encourage my students to learn the terminology, to be a step ahead of the musician on the street corner. That's not to take credit away from successful musicians who didn't go to college; you need to be ready to learn from anybody. If you hear a musician in the train station or the subway, and like it, don't turn away because you think it's a homeless guy with a guitar. You can learn something. And because you know the terminology—because you've been taught harmony—you know how to process what you hear and maybe come up with something new."
"I'm there to help my students become what they want to be, whatever that is. I think it's our job as teachers to try to provide options as much as we can, because you don't know what's out there. You like to sing, but don't really like to perform? Well, you could be a session singer. You like to write songs? You don't have to sing your own songs; you can write songs for other people and get a publishing deal. There are all kinds of things you can do to be a successful musician."
"I do a lot of things that provide opportunities for me to work with students as professional musicians. When I collaborate with them outside of school, I can relate what we're doing back to certain things that we covered in the classroom. The real measure of my success comes at the point when I feel like my students are actually doing something that I'm teaching."
- B.M., LaGrange College
- M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, Contemporary Improvisation
- Pianist, vocalist, producer, composer, and arranger
- Music director and producer of A7 (inspirational urban soul music)