"I try to remind students why we're doing music. It's about creating beauty and it's something you enjoy, something your audience will enjoy. Musicians can get really competitive. If you're just trying to do better than the other guy, or if you're trying to get better out of fear of being exposed as a fraud, you're not really in the right space. If you're singing out of fear, you have a 100 percent chance that it's not going to be right. Even if the notes are right, even if you're doing everything correctly, your listeners are going to be able to tell, and it's just going to ring false somehow. Now if you have a spirit of joy in creating music, you still might mess it up. Maybe then you have a 50 percent chance of getting it right. But at least you give yourself a chance. Yes, everybody should learn to play the piano and should learn their 251s and should learn music theory and sight reading—I'm all about competence. But I never want my students to forget that this is all in service of something that's supposed to be beautiful and supposed to be a pleasure."
"I don't think people realize that music school is hard. When my dad went to college he thought he wanted to be a music major. He did that for a semester, couldn't hack it, so he got a biology degree and went to med school instead. I actually sat next to a guy at Fenway one time who said he was a Berklee student 20 years ago. He only lasted a semester; it was too hard. I asked him 'What do you do now?' 'Oh, I'm an aerospace engineer. I work for NASA.' It's harder than a lot of people realize."
- A.A., School for Music Vocations
- B.A., Drew University
- M.M., University of Miami
- Performances with Richie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Hal Galper, Phil Mattson Darmon Meader, and Jon Secada,
- Founding member of jazz vocal group Vocalogy
- Member of jazz vocal group Syncopation
- Shade chosen as Top 5 Vocal CD by Jazz Education Journal
- Finalist, Song and Aria Competition, Professional Division, National Association of Teachers of Singing
- Arrangements published by Hal Leonard and UNC Jazz Press