Before I learned how to play a musical instrument, I used to draw. I used to draw a LOT. Whether it was doodling or sketching or even coming up with an action character that was too amazing to be commercially available, I loved it. Drawing was a theater for my imagination which, as many of us remember, is paramount when we are very young. Then when I was 12, my whole world experienced a paradigm shift: playing music.
I'd always love music too, doo wop, oldies, rhythm and blues and by 11, Charlie Parker. I took up the clarinet in 7th grade and didn't take to it right away. I had to be coaxed and prodded by my mom who had experienced much of the greatest jazz that was happening in the 1960's in Toronto first hand. Before long, I became obsessed with learning as much as I could. Music was gradually replacing the love I had for drawing as it had the same capacity for creativity and imagination AND you could play with other people.
For the first few years I happily played my rental instruments and looked forward to high school band practice until a new piece of the puzzle was introduced to me. When I was about 15 I went to a music camp in North Dakota where the 'legit' lessons were taught by a man named Dale Hallack. Dale was a musician of the old school who idolized Marcel Mule, played with the Ringling Bros. Circus and more importantly, he knew how to reface saxophone mouthpieces. He told me of all the modifications he made to his old Larry Teal Selmer mouthpiece and then lightning struck: I made the connection between the kind of sound you produce on your instrument and the gear you use.
Well, if you're reading this, you already know that I work on mouthpieces and that I'm fairly obsessed with my work. My new pursuit had it all: elements of fine art like the drawing and painting I used to do, music and sound and of course the coolest part, collaborating with other like-minded musicians.
So here I am now, following a path of my own making, customizing and creating mouthpieces for all reed instruments aiming for the highest possible standards as shown to me by my mentor, Ted Klum. One day I'll have to write a bit about that experience but for now, back to the bench!