PRIVATE INSTRUCTION
(all ages and levels welcome) 

Please use the contact page to get in touch and describe the service you are looking for. It is important to have a conversation before beginning lessons to ensure that we are a match. I am a professional and my rates reflect my credentials and experience. However, I recognize the importance of music and feel that private music lessons should be accessible to everyone.  With that in mind, my rates are negotiable, and I offer a sliding scale and customizable lesson times based on financial circumstances. 

Lessons Offered: 

  • Double Bass (Classical, Jazz, Folk, World, etc.) 
  • Electric Bass (Jazz, Folk, Pop/Rock, World. etc.) 
  • Theory (Basic Rudiments, Harmony, Counterpoint, Analysis, Post-Tonal, Jazz) 
  • Composition (Contemporary Classical, Contemporary Jazz) 
  • Arranging (All Styles)

GENERAL TEACHING PHILOSOPHIES

It is of utmost importance that the student remains enthusiastic and interested throughout the learning process. The ultimate goal is to have students progress while enjoying their lessons and looking forward to new challenges and connections on different levels each week. The preferences, interests, and learning style of each student differs greatly and it is my responsibility to identify these differences and tailor each lesson in a way that maximizes student progress and enjoyment. 

Double Bass: the establishment of a strong technical foundation is imperative. Proper left hand and bow technique must be achieved through various exercises before moving on to studies and longer pieces. For the study of jazz, it is recommended that all students learn to use a bow, but this technique is secondary to aspects such as learning to read chord symbols and becoming familiar with certain repertoire. 

Electric Bass: as with the double bass, the establishment of a strong technical foundation is imperative. However, it is much more likely that a student who is interested in the electric bass has the desire to prioritize learning specific pieces, and technique can be solidified through these pieces in tandem with some exercises. 

Theory: rudiments, harmony, counterpoint, analysis, post-tonal theory, and jazz theory all lend themselves to a hybrid approach where the instructor provides a nurturing environment which includes the participation of students in exercises. An holistic approach which ties together other important aspects of music education, such as keyboard harmony and ear training, is highly recommended. 

Composition: It is important to focus on a foundation of general principles, and to avoid pure value judgements in the evaluation of student compositions. Encouraging individual aesthetics is critical, and evaluation based on a comprehensive approach to composition which incorporates general principles opposed to a specific aesthetic will assist in promoting this ideal.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY STATEMENT (UNIVERSITY)

I have been incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to accumulate a great deal of teaching experience in a variety of settings, from coaching high school jazz ensembles, to private double bass and theory instruction in my home studio, to undergraduate teaching at York University.  While I have certainly learned much by observing and working with professors from my own student days, like most lessons in life, it is the ones that you learn from the crucible of your own experiences that shape your career with the most significance.  In the latter respect, I owe much to my students for helping me learn and grow as a teacher, for allowing me to continually fine tune my approach, for assisting in the discovery of tactics that are most effective, and finally, for shaping a broader teaching philosophy.   

The basic components of exceptional teaching include clear and succinct presentation of material; compassion toward and acceptance of different learning styles; awareness and attentiveness regarding progress of individual students; and the desire to put as much work into preparing and delivering, as is expected of students in learning.  Pairing these basics with experiential learning has been central in both my private teaching and university teaching.  Music, as a discipline, lends itself to this style, as the retention of information through immediate practice leads to the best results.  Furthermore, the promotion of a holistic approach which ties together all aspects of music education, including composition, theory and analysis, performance, keyboard harmony, ear training, history, etc., is imperative to the successful integration of concepts, and the obtainment of a multi-dimensional understanding of music.  This approach has the added benefit of a built-in system that accommodates students’ different learning styles and unique needs.  For example, some students may grasp certain harmonic concepts more easily by relating them to the keyboard or fingerboard, while others may absorb them through listening.  This also allows students to make a more personal connection to knowledge which undoubtedly leads to better retention and understanding of that knowledge.   

Theory and Composition are best taught using a hybrid system where the instructor provides a nurturing environment which includes the participation of students in exercises, class discussions, and other engaging activities.  Student involvement in this fashion encourages continued alertness and lets the teacher assess individual levels of comprehension with regard to specific materials.  In turn, this assists in judging when to move on to the next concept.  This responsiveness in pacing is vital, and helps ensure that, along with the development and maintenance of a strong foundation of rudimentary knowledge and basic concepts, more advanced ideas will be absorbed with a moderate amount of practice and application.  With each new concept it is important to emphasize how it relates to, or grows out of, the established foundation.  

In general, the presentation of each new idea should be accompanied by an actionable takeaway, something the student can implement immediately outside of class.  Knowledge is power, but we need to supply more than just information; we also need to equip students with the skills they need to fully integrate that information within their musical environment.  This includes stressing the importance of a routine that incorporates deliberate practice (concentrated focus) and the avoidance of multi-tasking (which inhibits focus).  This promotes work efficiency, and helps avoid wasted time and frustration for students.  Cultivating the ability to practice exercises alone is a necessary step toward developing fluency.  Moreover, encouraging a holistic approach, as described above, assists in solidifying each new idea.  Listening to real examples that highlight new material is an important step, as is playing through exercises on the keyboard.   

Nurturing creativity should always be the main goal when teaching composition, even when discussing basics, examining historic examples, or emulating past masters.  It is also important to focus on a foundation of general principles, and to avoid pure value judgements in the evaluation of student compositions.  Encouraging individual aesthetics is critical, and evaluation based on an approach to composition that incorporates general principles opposed to a specific aesthetic will assist in bolstering this ideal.  Imposing group learning situations is especially valuable for introductory composition classes, as students are able to share experiences and knowledge of different instruments, including playing techniques and capabilities.   

An effective education system operates on multiple levels, between individuals and within different communities.  It is important that all instructors are familiar with accommodations that are available for students with special needs such as learning difficulties, physical disabilities, or emotional and behavioral difficulties; and it is essential that the teacher is approachable and available outside of class through office hours, email, and other online platforms like a learning management system.  This additional awareness and communication will assist in gauging the progress of individuals, and it reinforces the trust between teacher and student, helps build a sense of community, and reminds students that the teacher has the students’ best interests in mind.