Masterclasses & Lectures

The Improvisational Approach

The photos above are from masterclasses I presented at the Midnorth Horn Workshop at Ball State University, and the horn studio from Wheaton College. I had a wonderful time sharing my research on a short tour of universities in the midwest, as well as the the Midnorth Horn Workshop. My presentations on my up and coming method book, “The Improvisational Approach” (IA), was so much fun, and met many wonderful players. The IA is a new method for learning a classical piece of music by employing jazz education methods. I introduced the method to the studios, and had students experiment with the approach. This latest tour brought me to University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Ball State University, University of Minnesota, and Wheaton College, I have also had the pleasure of working with the horn studios at University of Georgia, East Carolina University and Kennesaw State University. At all of the schools, the students were very open to the new ideas and techniques I introduced to them, and had a lot of fun testing it out for their fellow students. In 2015, I have also presented the Improvisational Approach as a lecture at the Northeast Horn Workshop, the Southeast Horn Workshop, and the International Horn Society’s Annual Symposium at the Colburn School of Music.

I am available to present masterclasses and lectures at your school, college or high school, or instrumental workshop. The Improvisational Approach is not limited to horn players, and the presentation can easily be modified to fit the featured instrument. Please contact me,, to discuss scheduling and details.

A little about my research:

This lecture and masterclass is the result of my dissertation research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and is for those interested in an introduction to an alternative way to learn a new piece of classical music by using the “The Improvisational Approach: A New Method for Learning a Classical Piece of Music by Employing Jazz Education Methods.” While the majority of the steps of the IA have been a standard approach for UIUC jazz students to learn their tunes, when applied to learning classical repertoire, its application melds the two worlds and deepens the musicianship of those who use it. This lecture will introduce the process of the IA, which is defined as a method of learning music through common practices utilized by jazz performers and educators. The musical language and style of the learned piece of music will not be of the jazz idiom, but remains classical in nature. This lecture will explore the steps of the IA using J. Michael Haydn’s Concertino for Horn and Orchestra in D Major. Some aspects incorporated into the project are transcription, improvisation, composition, and how these steps can help to learn a piece internally before externally. The lecture portion of the class is a simple introduction into creating etudes, improvising cadenzas, and otherwise approaching a standard classical piece creatively. It is also appropriate for anyone looking to expand on ways to approach new, or even familiar, pieces of music. To help illustrate the different steps of the IA, class participation will be encouraged.