Evan Mustard | Instructor Bio

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  • What is your teaching philosophy?
    My intention is to help each student become the best musician they are willing to become by encouraging and guiding them along their way.

    How long have you been teaching music? At YMP?
    I have been teaching music for the last five years, but this is my first year at Youth Music Project!  I’m stoked to join the team!

    What is your favorite thing about teaching music?  
    I really enjoy sharing musical knowledge, ideas, and concepts. I love seeing a students eyes light up when something clicks!

    What do you expect of your students in classes/lessons?
    I expect my students to be prepared, to have a great attitude, to have fun, and to try their best.

  • What do you expect of student’s parents?
    I expect my student’s parents to encourage their kids to practice, to be their audience at home, and to communicate with me as to how things are going.

    When did you first start playing music?  
    I started singing in choir at age 6, taking piano lessons at age 7, and guitar lessons at age 18.

    What is your educational background?  
    Did you study music in school and/or privately?  I studied privately for years, I have a Bachelors Degree in Guitar Performance, and a Masters in Jazz Studies, Music Production both are from the University of Central Oklahoma.

    Do you play in any bands / perform in the Portland area?  
    I’m very new to the area so I have yet to perform in Portland, but I will soon.  Jazz is my favorite genre of music to play, usually as a duo, trio, or quartet.

    What is the first song you learned how to play and how old were you?  
    The first song I learned how to play on piano was Heart and Soul at age 7, and the first song I learned on guitar was Free Fallin’ at age 18.

    How do you handle mistakes while practicing or during a performance?
    When I make a mistake during a performance I just try to forget it immediately. In my experience a mistake that is noticeable to me on a piece of music I’ve been working on for weeks and weeks may not be noticeable to an audience member who is hearing this music for the first time. I try to not worry about it too much, and the next chance I have to get in the woodshed I’ll iron them out.

    Describe a skill on your instrument that was a challenge and you’ve had to work very hard to achieve.  
    Improvisation is something that requires so much knowledge, practice, dedication, and understanding. It’s something I’m always working on, but I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am currently.

    Who are your musical influences?  
    My musical influences are Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, Bruce Forman, John Scofield, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, G. Love and Special Sauce, Radiohead, De La Soul, and The Beastie Boys.

    What do you feel when you play music?
    I feel content when I play music.  It is such a fun thing to do!  I especially enjoy playing with other musicians.

    If you had the chance to study and/or perform with any musician, living or deceased, who would it be?  
    I would love to study with Peter Bernstein, Bruce Forman, Julian Lage, Gilad Hekselman, and Pat Kelley. All currently living, and they play so well!

    When did you know you wanted to be musician?  
    As soon as I realized it was something you could study in college that was it for me.

    If you weren’t a musician/teacher what might you be?  
    I would be a chef, or a pro basketball player! Ha!