I was not a diligent practicer growing up.
I live in Brooklyn but spent my formative music years in New Hampshire. I’ve played piano since the 3rd grade (those non-practicing years) but when I was 13 I began to study jazz piano with a great teacher, Then I played daily.
After a year, I tried to keep up with the other musicians at my first few gigs…and failed. I wasn’t good enough yet. More practice. More scales. Then I did okay and felt pretty good about piano for the first time.
I learned my first life lesson: I don’t always have to feel good about something in order to do it anyway (and do it well). That’s practicing.
I attended the New School Jazz program in NYC, where I met my classical teacher John Kamitsuka. He helped me learn Beethoven, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Bach. My jazz playing got better. But then I pretty much stopped playing jazz in my early twenties…
And then I learned my second life lesson: there comes a point when one has to start exploring.
I composed and played in a great band for years, released four albums, wrote music for commercials, and tried a million small projects with other artists.
Along the way I discovered I really liked to teach.
It’s all about the lightbulb moment: I want to see the look on a student’s face when they finally get what eluded them before.
Unexpectedly, teaching evolved into one of my life projects.
And then I learned my 3rd life lesson: we don’t always get to choose what paths are in store for us.
One of my favorite quotes is from a college english teacher - I’m pretty sure he didn’t come up with it, but he said it well: "The trick to life, and writing, is to feel free while in the harness.”
I’d like to think that I can impart this insight to my students through piano lessons.
[as of 2018 I mainly focus on Brazilian music, specifically choro, but a bit of all three core styles, choro/samba/bossa. I have projects in the works, more to come]