"Before I came to Berklee, I had two great mentors, both of them really good musicians and teachers. One brought an awareness of how the instrument should be played; he stressed control, relaxation, keeping solid time, getting a great sound. The other helped me nurture my musical intuition and the creative spark by turning me on to the great improvisers of our time. Both mentors stressed musicality as the only viable starting point. This is what I strive to impart to my students. There has to be a musical idea first and foremost! There are times when I will stress the importance of the mechanics (technique), but only as a means to make better music. As Joe Hunt, one of my teachers at Berklee, used to say, ‘Technique is a vehicle which makes it possible for your musical idea to come across.’"