I am a multi-instrumentalist who has committed many years of study to my primary and secondary instruments. Here, I hope to share some of the more valuable things that I've learned on my musical journey, and address some of the most common questions that I get from students everywhere.
This was my first instrument, and the one I probably have put the most time into. I started off in the Suzuki Violin studio of Lori Franke, who instilled in me a lifelong love and appreciation for the intrinsic value of music. I was also very privileged to have studied under superb teachers who cared deeply about both my technical and musical development, including Hong Cheng, William R. Kennedy, Haroutune Bedelian, and William Fitzpatrick. Having walked away from the instrument for about five years in college, I understand the plight of many of my adult students who have chosen to return to playing years after they put it down.
I play a violin made in 2005 by Ran Dim (Chicago), paired with a Arcus (Germany) S8 carbon fiber bow. My strings are Thomastik Rondo.
While I did not seriously play the viola until I got to college, it has expanded my musical world in ways I never would have imagined possible. From tone to harmony, I credit my time in orchestra and chamber music on this instrument for most of the competency that I have today as a conductor and coach. I've also been hired for more professional playing engagements on viola than any other instrument that I play, and my first gig as a union musician in my new home state of Connecticut was on the viola!
I play a viola made in the early 2000's by the workshop of Ming Jiang Zhu, 15.5 inches in size, with a silver-mounted pernambuco bow by A. Carvalho (Arcos Brasil). My strings are a Larsen A with Warchal Karneol C/G/D.
In fifth grade, my elementary music teacher thought I was annoying the other violin students too much, and I was booted out of the concertmaster chair I had occupied since third grade and started a new journey as a beginning clarinetist. Despite having only had about five years of instruction in total with Dorea Tate and Amanda Walker (who were amazing mentors!), clarinet is the instrument that I feel most connected with.
My primary Bb/A set of orchestral clarinets are the Yamaha CSVR model, which have been overhauled by Wolfgang Lohff and Birgit Pfeiffer of LP Winds, with their "studio" setup. I play on Bradford Behn Epic HCV and Vandoren M30D mouthpieces with ARIA 3.5 reeds and an Ishimori ligature.
For concert bands and outdoor performances, I play a Backun Alpha with a Lumiere Barrel (65) and Bell, both in Cocobolo, with a Backun/Hawkins Vocalise "R" mouthpiece and Vandoren V12 3.0 reeds and an Ishimori ligature.
In training to play for musical theater and as a sideman for various band gigs, I've covered the whole span of saxophones, and play soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone.
My primary instrument is a Yamaha YAS-82Z "Custom Z" alto, with a Backun/Hawkins Vocalise TM2 mouthpiece. I also play an Antigua soprano with a Selmer C* mouthpiece. I use a range of D'Addario Reserve, Fibracell, and Boston Sax Shop (BSS) reeds.
I've always wanted to play the trumpet. I did not have a chance when I was younger, and missed out the opportunity when I was in marching band in high school. My attempts to start multiple times in college and post-college were pretty futile, and I quit multiple times before really dedicating myself to learning about six years ago. Through the pandemic, I ended up practicing a lot more, and with the help of great books by Arban, Clarke, Gordon, Schlossberg, and the new Suzuki Trumpet Method, I feel like I've made a lot of progress!
I play on a Yamaha 9-series trumpet with a Yamaha 14C4 mouthpiece.