Hobbies and Interests

* - Indicates I have seen this artist multiple times.

Music (the obvious one)

Jim, Ben, and AllisonWhile I perform regularly in a classical setting, classical music is far from my only interest. My Last.fm page shows the music I have listened to most frequently through my computer or iPod since 2009. I most frequently attend Dave Matthews Band concerts at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI and have collected taped recordings (permissible by the band) since 2005. However, I still credit Ben Folds (in photo, middle) for providing me my first love for pop/rock music.

Leonard BernsteinWhile I most frequently listen to popular music, I believe that art music (classical music) is comparatively important. Leonard Bernstein (left) thought so too. That man had more talent in his left pinky than most musicians can hope to have today (watch him conduct and perform at the same time from memory). He had a lot more heart too (watch the second movement of the same piece). While popular music can appeal to particular moods, classical music reaches into the affective domain at an entirely different level. In addition, the complexity of the music beyond A/B form and "4 chord song" repetitiveness provides learning experiences that go beyond the popular music realm. I am understanding when students tell me they do not prefer listening to classical music on a day-to-day basis. I do not either. Perhaps classical music is felt more often by the performers compared to the audience, with the performers having far greater knowledge of its complexity and what the music means to them. In either case, I enjoy attending classical concerts with an education to complement my experience. I encourage anyone who goes to a classical performance to attend a talk which is often given prior to the concert.

 

 

 

Technology and Science

It is no secret I love using technology in the classroom. However, that stems from an interest in it starting at an early age. I designed my own web site when I was in 11 years old, and built my first computer system when I was 14.

As a freelance computer hobbyist, I do on-site computer repair and optimization in my spare time for customers. I also continue to explore the realm of electronic music production. Utilizing Finale, Garritan Virtual Instruments, and FL Studio, I tinker around with music composition. I wrote my first loop-based compositions in high school using a program similar to FL Studio called ACID Pro Tools.

Carl SaganThe universe is really cool. We know so little about it, and it keeps generating new surprises. Scratch that, I think that defines science in general. We had a guy who could explain complicated science-babble very easily. Nearly 25 years later, his show is still available on Netflix and Hulu and remains incredibly relevant. Every person should take some time and watch the Cosmos series by Carl Sagan. You'll feel like a better person because of it.

 

 

Sports

Don't hate quite yet. These are my favorite college basketball and football teams:

Movies and Television

I worked in a video store for 7 years, so this section is hard. I'll just write and say I like deep movies and action movies. Therefore, Inception is the best film I've seen in awhile.

Books and Comics

I have read numerous books that were good, but there are few that really make you think reflectively and yearn for you to take notes or write in the book. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is such a book. Written by a man dying of pancreatic cancer, this book will help you put life into focus and really prioritize what should and shouldn't matter.

I don't read comics much anymore, however I will credit Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang for instilling wisdom to me at a young age. Charlie Brown's consistent perseverance in adverse situations (he never could kick that darn ball), among other things, have been inspiring.

Peanuts gang

Projects Funded

Family and Friends

I could not be where I am today without the unrelenting support of my friends and family.

My mother and father, each with their own unique personality, helped to shape my own. I credit my neverending curiosity and willingness to learn to both of them. Their patience helped me realize the importance of such a virtue. Their forced private lessons and encouraging me to do things I would not have normally wanted to do helped me realize the importance of taking risks.

While my two younger brothers Bill and Tim took a lot of flack from their eldest when we were all younger, they too helped shape who I am today. Bill has helped keep me in the loop with the pop music trends, and we continue to go to Dave Matthews Band concerts together every year. Tim's passion for travel encouraged me to take two trips to Europe, which turned out to be unforgettable experiences.

There are far more things I could say about my family, but I am writing this to let them know they are valued. As focused and determined as I am in my work, they have been a consistent force in supporting me while I try to reach my goals.

My friends have been my family away from home. Especially during my time at Eau Claire, I couldn't have asked for a better group of individuals to work and socialize with. I'm especially proud to be a Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonian, and every reunion with brothers is a great one. For my old high school friends, it feels nice that years later, things still feel the same in some ways.