Howdy! I am a multi-instrumentalist born and raised in northern Kentucky and currently living in San Diego, California. I have studied music my whole life, and taken a wandering path through many styles. I began with classical music, studying piano and earning a doctorate in music. Along the way, I explored the traditional music of my family home on stringed instruments like the banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin.
My wandering path between styles has given me a broad perspective on music that I try to pass on to all my students. I have learned music in a lot of different ways – through musical notation, through music theory, by ear, by feel – and I have found value in all of them. I consider this one of my greatest assets to you as a teacher: I can help you find a way of learning that serves both you and the music you want to play.
The study of music has been one of the most enriching parts of my life – teaching me the value of hard work and discipline, the joy and satisfaction that comes from mastering a skill, and patience. Teaching is my opportunity to share that enrichment. I love seeing students transform with their instrument. I love seeing their personalities change as they gain confidence, and discover an expanding passion for an instrument or style. It is a great reward to watch a student as they learn to identify and express their own musical ideas and tastes.
For years, I played folk music mostly for my own enjoyment before building a performance career that has now included appearances at folk festivals across the country like the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival (Washington), Brooklyn Folk Festival, and the National Jug Band Jubilee (Kentucky). Still, nothing beats getting together to play with friends. That’s why I teach skills that will empower students to play with others.
Other accolades from my career include:
- In 2015, celebrated roots music publication No Depression called my work “a joyous and soulful restoration of one of the lost treasures of American musical tradition.”
- I am an official Deering Banjos Artist and was chosen by the company to model their Americana instrument in online and print marketing in 2015 .
- In 2021, I became a teaching artist at Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop and produced three volumes of instructional videos on traditional fingerpicking styles.
- I have taken first prize at the Santa Barbara Old Time Music Convention’s competitions for both fiddle (2019) and banjo (2018).