I am an accomplished musician (trumpet, jazz improvisation) and college instructor (history, humanities, music) who is experienced with students at all levels and from a variety of backgrounds. I enjoy hands-on, one-to-one interactions with my students and use an approach based on mutual respect and cordiality. I particularly like helping students to develop reading, writing, and analytical skills that are useful in the social sciences and business. I also enjoy teaching music fundamentals, especially jazz theory and jazz improvisation with a creative approach that combines aspects of cultural understanding and music theory.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelors, Music
Graduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Masters, African Area Studies
Trumpet, Jazz, Music
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Mutual interest and inspiration are at the heart of my teaching philosophy. If I am able to convey my interest in my student’s success effectively, then I might be more able to inspire them to achieve the goals that are placed in front of them.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student on a personal basis, and try to get a sense of their needs and challenges in order to develop an effective strategy for their growth.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In the information age everything begins with reading and writing. If a student is willing to both of these he/she will achieve the goal of life-long learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By reminding them that we are a team that is working to achieve the same goal--their success in overcoming a challenge, mastering a subject area, or passing a test.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would look for different approaches that can be used to develop mastery of the skill or concept. Every student has a unique learning style, and sometimes it may just be a matter of finding the right techniques and approaches that help them to learn best.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I started teaching reading more than 40 years ago using what was then a novel technique called phonics. From that experience and from my experience as a musician, I am more than aware of the importance of the power of sound as a learning tool.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Opening lines of effective communication and shared interests.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By showing them ways that I might use to get engaged or excited in the subject. For instance, I have a strong preference of certain eras in history, but there are always particular aspects of the human experience that I can apply to all eras in history.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I typically ask my students to write short answers or essays that communicate their understanding of the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By allowing them the opportunity to teach me what they have learned from their lessons, they are able to display their grasp of a subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By developing a rapport and allowing them to show me their level of understanding of a particular subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I use different tools and techniques in an improvisational manner until I find something that works for both of us.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The computer white board, the internet, and anything else I can think of.