How did you first become interested in music?
I had a completely revolutionary music teacher, Phil Hardymon, one of the first educators in the country to teach jazz to elementary school students. Playing under his direction felt akin to being famous. We traveled all over California playing in front of jazz educators from across the country to show what could be done with elementary school children and jazz. We were on television, and we got a free trip to Disneyland. It was an incredible experience that made music so exciting.
How did you decide to become a teacher?
After college I played clarinet professionally in New York City. I began to notice that most professional musicians didn’t share my intellectual interest in music. I decided to audit a music class at Columbia University, and I remember sitting in that classroom and thinking, this is where I belong. I had taught clarinet all through high school, so I knew I loved teaching. I knew I loved music, and it seemed like the clarinet, which first got me interested in music, had become this bridge to being a historical musicologist.