Frequently Asked Questions
What, exactly, do you teach? I teach violin, piano, voice, guitar, music production, songwriting, music theory, music composition, music technology, and work as a musical guide for groups and individuals. I teach all levels from ‘never touched an instrument’ to ‘on my way to conservatory’ to ‘performing everyday’. What I truly enjoy is to help students, who already have some musical knowledge, develop their personal creative and performance abilities. I work with the people who have a vision and need the guidance to carry it out.
Am I too old? No, you’re not. I enjoy teaching adults and older kids. The myth that only children can excel at an instrument is false and extremely simple to explain. Kids have more free time. This is why they learn languages faster, this is why they get good at instruments. If an adult focuses on any given subject and applies his or her added life experiences, they can often learn that subject as fast or faster than a child.
Do you teach children? Yes, as long as they’re interested in practicing regularly, eager to learn, and ready to find out how good they can get on their instrument. Or if you can give me a really good reason why I should. Or if I get along with you and you take me indoor skydiving. There are any number of reasons why I might take on a student. Sign up and we’ll give it a try.
What is your teaching style? A bit crazy, a bit focused, and very centered on physical skill, mental understanding, and forming good patterns and breaking bad ones as efficiently as possible. Also, I’m a big fan of developing clear cut ways to approach and work through performance anxiety and other fears that impact your ability to break loose and do the best you can. I like to randomly recall bits of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and talk a lot about stretching and physical health. Whatever I do, it’s with the intention of getting you the fastest results in the most beneficial way possible.
Do you teach other instruments? Yes, I think musical intelligence is greatly enhanced by an understanding of multiple instruments. I teach voice, violin, piano, guitar, songwriting, composition, and music technology (primarily Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Sibelius, and Finale). I really enjoy teaching songwriters, producers, and others, who are seeking to find their own musical voice beyond what one instrument can provide.
Do you have recitals? I encourage my students to jump into the real world as soon as possible. There are numerous wonderful open mics in the city of Austin, where friendly musicians in all stages of musical development abound. When you are ready, I will encourage participation. I think this is of far greater value than the typical recital structure of most music schools, as it will allow you to become a part of one of the most diverse and involved musical communities in the world, connect with new people, and get often surprising insights into what you want to do with your own musical future.
How much will I need to practice? Up to you, but generally fifteen minutes a day is moving forwards, half an hour a day is great, and an hour a day is some serious progress. My preference is some form of daily practice. Five minutes every day is often more valuable than five hours once a week. The actual necessary amount varies widely dependent upon the person’s current life situation. It’s the consistency that I encourage.