Why do I spend so much time listening? Our long history and big planet have a tremendous amount of music to give us. I think we often miss out that opportunity because we’re either not on the lookout for it, or unable to relate new music when it pops up. My solution is to listen constantly. Every time I hear a new piece or style, my ability to listen develops further, and by cultivating this skill on a steady diet of diverse and challenging music, I experience more and more joy as a listener in every passing year.
I have been writing music since I could walk, and teaching it since college. As a child I had a strong upbringing in rock, oldies, Motown, and show tunes. I love them all, but I found that as I got older, I was always seeking out something new and different. As a teenager I dove deep into the world of jazz and came out a lifelong fan and musician. After my liberal arts adventures in college I forced myself to develop a broad knowledge of classical music, and found a huge artistic treasure just below my generation’s radar. Since completing my M.M.Ed. at Boston Conservatory, I’ve taught listeners and musicians of all ages and played all kinds of music from rap to heavy metal to country. It doesn’t stop there -- I’ve immersed myself in deep national traditions traditions like Brazilian Choro, Hindustani classical, Japanese soran bushi and Serbian trubaci bands because I want to keep growing, and because I can’t get enough.
There is a universal musicianship that we all practice, whether we’re in the audience or on the stage. By practicing it with intent, we grow artistically and become better receptors for the staggering musical riches all around us. Whether it’s enjoying our favorite pop song for the awesome arrangement as much as the hook, being awed by a great rapper’s rhythmic nuance as much as his cool persona, hearing exactly what it is that makes the latest indie rock band sound so fresh or finally being able to follow that classical or jazz record that we’re “supposed to like,” becoming a better listener makes life sweeter.