Playing music well requires a balanced awareness of mind, heart, and body. Most people will naturally gravitate towards one particular area of focus, whether it be their technical playing ability, their understanding of musical structure, or the expression of their emotions through music. My goal is to help students identify their natural gifts and what they love most about music, in order to use that as a foundation for exploring and strengthening those areas where they most want to develop and grow. I believe that learning music should be fun, engaging, challenging, and rewarding. I strive to create a stress-free environment where students feel motivated through positive reinforcement, personal accountability, and an intrinsic love of music-making.
The guitar is one of the easiest instruments to learn, and one of the most complex to master. There are so many different styles to choose from! Aside from the piano, it is also one of the best instruments for learning about music theory. I approach each student individually, working from the very first lesson to set reasonable goals and introduce practical techniques that are relevant to the music you want to play. I also seek to incorporate theory, technique, and improv into all of my lessons, allowing students to make connections about how and why the music works. Depending on how often you practice, you'll be able to start picking out and playing songs you love in no time.
Many people believe that they are "tone deaf." Perhaps you were told this as a child. But true tone deafness is in fact quite rare, and many studies have shown that even those who struggle to match pitch can improve significantly with regular practice. All human beings have an innate capacity to sing. We do not all have to be Pavarotti or Aretha Franklin in order to participate in the joy of singing, or to experience the numerous benefits of singing. Aside from offering singing workshops for groups, I love working one-on-one with people to help folks begin to develop an authentic vocal style and build both aural and vocal skills. Whether you want to improve your solo performances, or you just want to be able to sing more confidently in a group, I can help your find your voice.
Music Theory 101
Musicians who learned to sing or play music "by ear" often feel intimidated by music theory. After all, you don't have to know how to read or write in order to speak the language. However, learning the written language of music can open up new pathways for understanding, allowing you to engage your mind as well as your heart and body in your musical performances. Many people also still consider the ability to read sheet music to be an important marker of professional musicianship, and it is a crucial skill to have when collaborating with other musicians who are classically trained. I work to make music theory relevant to each student's instrument and musical goals, building on what you already intuitively know to find ways to efficiently fill in the gaps.
Home Studio Recording
Do you want to record and mix your own music at home, but aren't sure where to start? With just a little bit of know-how, you can get amazing studio-quality sound right in your own home, using relatively inexpensive equipment and free software programs like GarageBand or Audacity. While YouTube has tons of videos that can show you how to use these programs, it can help to have someone who can answer questions about your specific setup and goals. With nearly two decades of experience recording and engineering my own music at home, I can recommend equipment, discuss sound setup and mic placement, introduce you to basic mixing techniques, teach you to navigate your digital audio workstation, and help you develop an efficient workflow for your project.
Like all art forms, songwriting is highly subjective. It is a craft that cannot necessarily be "taught," but it can be honed and developed through exercises, prompts, skills, feedback, and collaborating with other songwriters. For beginners, I start with basics like chord progressions, melodies, song structure, rhythm, and basic literary techniques for effective creative writing. For those who are interested in going a bit further, I can offer a deep-dive exploration to help you discover and develop your own authentic voice. Drawing from two decades of experience as a songwriter and performer, I also offer consultations and coaching on artist development, self-promotion, gigging culture, performance anxiety, and other aspects of life as a singer and songwriter.
Booking & Fees
30-minute session: $20
1 hour session: $50
Lessons are customized to suit the needs of each student. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation so that we can discuss your specific needs and learning goals.
Note to Adult Learners
Many adults believe that it is "too late" to begin learning to sing, learning a musical instrument, or learning how to read sheet music. We are told that these skills are picked up best when we are children. While is true that children have the capacity to integrate lots of new information very quickly, the latest research on the neuroplasticity of the brain shows that we are capable of learning new skills and abilities as long as we are alive. In fact, multiple studies have shown that learning and playing music as an adult can be good for your health! Because it simultaneously engages the mind, heart, and body, playing music at any level has been shown to have a number of physical and mental health benefits, including combating dementia, boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, and reducing stress.
Training & Experience
My experience with music began as early as I can remember, sitting at my grandmother's piano and picking out the melodies of my favorite songs by ear. I also grew up in a singing household, learning to harmonize by listening to my mother sing along with The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. When I was 8 years old, I began playing the violin, studying under Dr. Carter Bradley of Greensboro, NC. By age 11, I was transcribing my favorite piano tunes onto sheet music. I began singing in choirs at age 12, and received my first guitar when I was 14.
I began performing on stage at age 16, accompanying myself on the guitar while singing mostly covers of popular folk and rock songs. When I was 17, I started playing drums for an indie/punk band, and spent the next five years hosting a weekly open mic night in downtown Greensboro, NC, which eventually launched my career as singer/songwriter. Since 2004, I've independently recorded, produced, and released five albums on which I played most of the instruments, and I have performed all over the country and world. You can learn more about my music career by visiting my performance and recordings pages.
During my graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, I received training in congregational singing and traditional song leadership, as well as private instruction in music theory, composition, and vocal performance. In 2013, I received a grant to spend a summer in Jogjakarta, Indonesia studying traditional gamelan music. In 2014, I traveled to Taizé, France to learn the practice of Taizé chant. I have been teaching workshops on communal singing for nearly a decade.
In 2019, I returned to UNCG to complete a minor in music, receiving lessons in guitar, voice, and Western classical music theory, in addition to ethnographic research on the current state of music education. Because I had the advantage of receiving my formal education in Western classical music theory as an adult, I am especially well-equipped to tutor students who are struggling in theory, as well as teaching theory to other adult learners who have not had the opportunity yet for formal music training.