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Spotlight on Wil, Music Teacher

“Sometimes the fun and silly moments are the best…”

Tell us about yourself – your background, where your musical inspiration comes from, and how you got into teaching?

I was basically immersed in music for my whole life.  I hung around my father’s marching band and drum corp rehearsals as well as my mother’s choir events.  Both of my parents were music educators, so music became a way of life in my family.  From an early age I would always listen to soundtracks from my favorite movies such as Star Wars and Jurassic Park.  I took piano, trumpet, and cello lessons up until I was in middle school.  After a trip to NYC to see Paul McCartney at Madison Square Garden, I became interested in guitar and then focused solely on that through middle and high school.  I started taking Jazz Guitar lessons and later decided to pursue a degree in Jazz Studies and Music Education from the University of Maryland.  I played guitar for various theatre and local events and taught middle school band around the Washington, D.C. area before coming out to L.A. to pursue a Master’s in Studio/Jazz Guitar at USC.

Have you ever had a music educator in your life that impacted you through their teaching? If so, could you tell us a little bit about them, and how they shaped your love for music?

The most influential music educators in my life were my parents.  From an early age, they exposed me to everything they could.   I was always involved with my father’s marching band until I was actually in it in high school, and went to my mother’s musical productions and events.  We would always take trips up to NYC to see musicals and concerts, which had a great impact on my life.  However, I think the greatest impact they had on me was instilling the desire to achieve excellence, intensity, and purpose in my musical career.  I will forever be grateful for the connections and opportunities that they provided for me while I was growing up.

What do you love about teaching?

I really enjoy building a community and rapport with the students.  What I enjoy most is building a relationship with the students and getting to know them and their individual personalities.  From there, I find ways to relate to them and make music important in their lives.

What is the best part about working with ETM-LA?

I really love getting to know the students and experience the comradery that comes with making music with them!  Sometimes the fun and silly moments are the best, but also the end result after all that time of hard work!

Why do you think it’s important to keep music programs in schools?

I think it’s important to keep music in public schools because of the impact it has on the students.  The skills they learn in music can translate to other sections of their life so that they can become more successful.  Also, I think it helps students to become more well-rounded and educated, in addition to giving them an artistic outlet for them to enjoy for the rest of their lives.