Our students get the joy of seeing their talented music instructors weekly and lessons are focused on their progress and what we can do to help them improve as musicians. RMA has amazingly gifted students, and we strive to let each and every one of them shine. We sometimes forget that behind our shining stars are incredible instructors who do a wonderful job in teaching, inspiring, and guiding our students. Here at RMA, we are extremely proud of our instructors and would like to feature an “Instructor of the Month”.
This month we would like to feature Anthony who is one of our talented piano instructors. Not only is Anthony a dedicated RMA instructor, he performs at local venues with his instrumental trio, Artifacto, and is also an accompanist with the prestigious American Musical and Dance Academy in Hollywood, where he is currently the associate music director for AMDA’s spring production of Annie Get Your Gun. Anthony recently participated as an accompanist for LA Opera’s winter production of The Marriage of Figueroa, presenting workshops in over 15 elementary schools in and around Los Angeles to rehearse, stage, and perform the original LA-themed opera. Anthony is an inspiration to many of our students, but we were intrigued as to what inspires him.
Anthony was brought up in a musical family in Nashville, Tennessee. His grandmother played the organ and piano, and he remembers listening to all the hymns she used to play for him. His uncle played the trombone, exposing him to the music scene and opened him up to genres like jazz, funk, fusion, and rock. His family had always encouraged him to learn and practice music growing up, therefore, it was easy for him to find inspiration and support for his passion.
Anthony didn’t always have his heart set on music. He had a lot of interest in physics, math, and science fiction growing up. At one point in his childhood, he remembers aspiring to be a surgeon. However, he realized that music was his greatest passion when he landed an assistant position in the music industry, in which he helped a composer/arranger by preparing scores. He would tag along with his mentor to the studio where he enjoyed watching other passionate musicians work towards their aspirations. This is when he decided that he would devote everything to pursuing a career in music.
Anthony’s teaching career has been a rewarding experience here at RMA, “It’s very rare to have students who put in the work. It’s so great working with parents who are so involved in getting their kids to work hard.”
If you were to go to one of Anthony’s performances, expect to be dazzled by his “modern-contemporary instrumental fusion music”. He is an eclectic collector of styles. Performing is always fun, but Anthony also enjoys listening to works of other talented artists. His favorite genre right now is avant-garde hip hop. “It’s cool because it includes jazz. I really like Flying Lotus because of his collaborations with artists like Herbie Hancock, Kendrick Lamar… even Snoop Dogg. He’s also local—in North Hollywood!”
Although Anthony has accomplished a lot and has years of experience in performing, he still becomes nervous no matter which event, who he’s playing for, and how many people are in the audience! He can clearly recall the feeling he had before auditioning for college, “I would shake before I had to perform. I would stretch my hands and do push ups to get the blood flowing in the right way.”
His advice for his students is to “look at nervousness straight in the eye. What’s getting in your way? Consciously try to work through them. If you ignore your nervousness, it will destroy your performance. Face it head on!” At the end of his interview, we had a short series of fill-in-the-blanks we thought would serve as words of encouragement for our students.
Music is a language. It’s intangible unlike words.
My music makes me feel dignified.
I write songs because I want to participate in the dialogue. I want my voice to be heard in a participatory way.
I Support music because for kids, it’s the most invaluable thing they could get into. Support music because music never dies, and music will never die.