"Every student has this gift within them, but they may have difficulty expressing their gift. So, starting with the idea that students need help finding that mode of expression, we help them connect with teachers who really have a passion for helping the students find their inner voice."
"In our ensembles, I have two hours to work with students, then meet with them again one week later. One of the things I've tried to stress with them is, 'Are we retaining what we learned last week, and improving upon it, or are we relearning it?' In the real world, somebody may give you something to learn in a day. So I work on being able to learn things fast, retain them, and present them in a professional manner in any performance situation."
"I build my classes on a foundation of mutual trust and respect, a space where fear is kept at bay and every student is expected to work hard, take chances, and make mistakes and then grow from them—but most importantly, to explore and discover, or rediscover, for themselves that unique voice. Because it takes high standards, discipline, and hard work to have a successful music career, these elements are integral to all of my classes. Watching students grow in this discover-trust-develop continuum is a constant wellspring of inspiration for me. Being a catalyst in the process is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching."
"Music lifts me up. It is emotionally based. It helps people be healthy in their emotional well-being. As a player, it's how I express everything that I'm feeling. It is the voice that I speak from. I know how to create textures and colors with it."
"When I was young I had to learn European musical styles. So when foreign students come to Berklee, I think it is important to educate them in a true form of American music. The Bible says, 'Go ye therefore and teach all nations.' I take that in a musical sense. The whole world has become my classroom, and I like that."
"I've been mentoring with City Music since I started teaching here, five years ago. It really just lines up with my life philosophy, which is engaging and inspiring the next generation. Whether or not I'm doing it at Berklee I'm doing it somewhere, because it's part of the way I was raised. I was one of those City Music students at one point, involved in the five-week program. Now I go back and help out the students that are coming behind me and help the program to expand and grow."
"Music is something that's as individual as each student, and my goal is to bring that out in my students. Whether it's their songwriting skills or their singing skills, or just trying to put everything together, I try to bring out their individuality. If students sing at all, or they would like to, I encourage that. My experience has taught me that's it's very important to do as many things in the music business as possible; if you're a singer who plays, or a player who sings, you're going to have many more opportunities to find work."
"We all have a destiny, and I try to make students realize that each of them is an individual unique unto itself and you don't have to run anyone else's race. Sometimes I get students that are overwhelmed because there are so many great players at Berklee. So I just try to connect the fact that if we can find the one unique part abut us, that's what's gonna make you separate from the masses. The upside is that we all have something to contribute. No matter what. I think each student has something that the world can only get from that particular student. It's up to that student to, with integrity, work and develop that skill to bring it to fruition."
"Every time I play, I want to have a joyous feeling when I embrace my horn. Because jazz, to me, is your personal expression on your instrument. Every time you play is a summation of where you've traveled as a player, and that comes out in your music. It's not how fast you can play this lick, or this pattern. It's developing an approach that lets you be free on your instrument to execute your personality within whatever kind of music it is."
"The most important thing I want for my students is musicality in playing whatever they want to play: expression with rhythm, with pulse, and with movement. To make a beautiful sound, it doesn't need to be one kind of sound, but it does need to be expressive. I also want them to be aware of the culture, to be aware of what they're playing, and feel confidence in it. I try to make students aware—without being self-conscious—of how their body works with the instrument when they're performing."