I have over a decade of teaching experience with all age groups (from pre-school to higher ed) in a diverse range of communities and socioeconomic backgrounds. From community centers to non-profits to college classrooms, my teaching is inspired by the intersection of performance, history and community.
University of Pittsburgh: Teaching Assistant, "Introduction to World Music," Department of Music, 2015-2018.
Westminster Choir College of Rider University: Artistic Instructor, "Summer Musical Theatre Program," 2008-present.
Columbia College Chicago: Teaching Assistant, "Rock and Soul on the Radio," Communication Department, , 2010-2011.
The MGR Foundation: As an Artistic Activism instructor for the MGR Foundation, I created lesson plans for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders—in the impoverished, low-resourced, Clairton School District (Clairton, PA). My teaching utilized a mixed-media approach to lessons where I would engage students in performance art, visual art, creative writing, recording and producing, oral history, and story telling. My favorite lesson plan, titled “I Am Somebody,” was designed to articulate the relationship between popular music and the politics of power, pride and self-determination in the Black community. My students were asked to examine the footage of the “I Am Somebody” anthem (the concert was turned into a feature documentary film, Wattstax, in 1973) and engage in critical discussion on the content of the lyrics, its call and response style, and the fashions, dances, and gestures that were incorporated into the performance. The students were asked to consider how this documentation of popular music culture—the people, the movements, the styles, and the messages—related to their community forty years later, and also, how they differed. Through pedagogical ethnography and applied ethnomusicology, this project gave voice to the socially significant aesthetic of “Soul Power” as both a musical genre and lived cultural practice and, more importantly, depicted how my voiced student participants understand the sights, sounds, and movements of “soul.”
Focus On Renewal: As a Program Consultant for Focus On Renewal, a non-profit that serves the impoverished, low-resourced Sto-Rox School DIstrict (McKees Rocks, PA), I have produced and directed events and camps that engage directly with Pittsburgh African American music history and women in music/media history. In 2017, I curated a multi-media evening of performance and lecture surrounding the screening of Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band (2015), a documentary about Pittsburgh jazz legend Mary Lou Williams. I also designed and directed an all-girl youth music/media camp, entitled StoGIRLSRocks. StoGIRLSRocks is an empowerment program for female youths of all definitions, abilities, & backgrounds. Girls learned the basics in guitar, keyboards, beat-making, spoken word, and singing. Students worked closely with teaching artists to learn hands on the basics of music making, creating a band, writing songs, performing with stage presence, telling their truth with confidence and more. Most recently, I offered a free musical theatre camp via a collaboration with another non-profit I work for (Recreational Arts, Inc.) to children in grades 1-6.
Recreational Arts, Inc.: I am also lucky enough to be able to engage my many years of training in musical theatre as an artistic instructor for non-profits that focus on fostering a love of singing, acting and dancing. Rex Arts mission is to ignite a spark of interest in musical theatre for new students, or foster a love and technique for experienced young performers. The non-profit offers five-day programs in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey that culminate in an awesome performance for family and friends. We provide a safe and encouraging environment in which student build confidence, develop a strong work ethic, and have a lot of fun! Students will play and build confidence through improve/acting games, and learn to sing and dance in a musical revue. In 2018, I engaged in fundraising to offer free Rex Arts camps to my students in McKees Rocks via Focus On Renewal. Through a successful partnership between Rex Arts and Focus On Renewal, we raised enough money to provide the youth of McKees Rocks a free musical theatre summer camp program, the first of its kind for Rex Arts!