Degree(s): Jazz Studies/Saxophone Performance, The Hartt School, 2012
Current Employment/Employer(s): Disneyland Resort; Freelance Musician
Former Employment/Employer(s): Music & Arts Center; Private Lesson Studio; After School Tutoring
Current and/or Former Creative Projects/Performance Opportunities: 2d Marine Air Wing Band; “The Disneyland Band"; “5 & Dime" Band (Disney California Adventure); various jazz groups in Southern California, “Puremotion" funk/rock group
Advice for Current Students:
*Don't limit yourself with labels and other mental boundaries. Jazz, Classical, Pop, etc., it’s all the same – MUSIC! Strive to be the best musician first. The details are much easier to fill in after you have a real solid musical core (and a solid understanding of different musical styles).
*On that same note, work hard to limit your weaknesses and improve your weaker areas as much as you can. Only a classical player? Work on your improvisation. Only a jazz improviser? Work on classical and ensemble playing. Only play one horn? Get confident in all the saxes and doubles (flute/clarinet minimum). The musicians that I see working the most are the ones who can play effectively in the most styles. Gigging horn players I know (in Southern California) player everywhere: salsa/Latin bands, jazz big bands, small independent solo groups, larger concert (classical) ensembles, various recording sessions, churches, weddings, really anything that they can get paid to do – they do it!
*Unions DO help. As a Disneyland musician there’s a CBA with the AFM local 7, and they really do work hard to advocate for musicians’ rights and benefits. It’s also a great place to network with other professional musicians in your area (the local 47 has regular big band reading sessions and great players coming together to sharpen their teeth), and it can even get you the occasional gig or private student.
*It’s hard to understate how the simple little things help you: be on time/early to gigs, dress well, be polite, and don’t talk negative about your peers or gossip, etc. These are things that I picked up kind of automatically through my military experience that many in the “real world" sometimes seem to miss. So if I surpassed others professionally many times it wasn’t because I was a better player, but because I have a record of professionalism that others can easily rely on at their gigs.
*BTW: don’t balk at (all) unpaid gigs. Some, yes, are simply trying to take advantage of you. But I’ve done several that resulted in connections to other real paying gigs. Best Example: I was playing in a “reading big band" doing traditional swing stuff for a couple months when I first moved out to CA. Eventually auditions for Disneyland musicians came out. When I walked in the audition room, who did I see on the hiring board? One of the trombone players from that reading band! I’m sure that he had a better idea of who I was as a person and musician, and was much more confident in hiring me after our experience playing together at that reading session!
Anything else you want to add regarding your current life? You guys, I’m actually playing my horns and getting paid to do it!!! It is such an incredible blessing to know that I wouldn’t rather do anything else in the world, but I can still support myself financially doing that very thing!!! In other words, if a schmuck like me can do it, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!! Thanks for the interest in your students after they leave your program. It shows great commitment and personal interest in your students and your work!!!
Web Site: My FB page is firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to email.