Although he had taken piano lessons since he was six, Adam was never more than a casual music listener until nearly the end of high school. In his senior year of high school, about a month from graduation, he suddenly felt a powerful sense of joy, belonging and purpose making music with other people. Desperate to know more about these feelings, he went to Oberlin College, home of a world class conservatory of music.
And became an English Major.
Anxious, perfectionist Adam didn't have the courage to apply to the Conservatory as a student. His furtive attempts to audition as a voice major and a composition major in his freshman and sophomore year were met with indifference by the faculty, and Adam was far too afraid to play the piano in front of people.
So he underwent a stealth music education, taking classes in conducting, jazz piano, and musicology with the music students, all the while composing and listening like crazy. He felt the music in him, believed he was a musician deep down. At the end of five years, he had written a few choral pieces, could sort of play the piano, and could sing.
Would any sane person have thought this was a good time to head to Atlanta to become a pro? Probably not. But overcome with the desire to burst through his fear, he headed south, took a job as a ballet accompanist, and started a jazz trio.
Much to his surprise, within a year he was playing classes for the Atlanta Ballet, while leading his jazz trio all over the city. So he had reached his goal! There was just one problem.
He was still anxious, all the time, and his frozen body collided with his newfound playing responsibilities. Adam's hands began to hurt. For relief, he went to a Feldenkrais practitioner that he'd met at a ballet conference.
The Feldenkrais Method was like nothing he'd ever seen before. He felt relaxed and happy in his own skin. And when he discovered that a training was coming to the Atlanta area, he signed up to get certified.
That was the real beginning of the turnaround.
The Feldenkrais Method connected his music with martial arts, mathematics, and writing. It gave him a way of thinking about himself and about teaching that was different from what everyone else was doing. Best of all, it gave him a sense that someday he might overcome his anxiety.
The road was long, and it took him through a twisted path. A return to college to get the missing degree in music, a Masters in Music Education, twelve years teaching public school, all of these things (done while raising his growing family) gave him more and more pieces of the puzzle. By the time he started the Grant Park Academy of the Arts, he was ready to share what he knew with others.
Adam has overcome his anxiety about playing piano in front of people (although he still gets nervous). He has written books about music and its relationships to other subjects like math, creative writing, and physical, mental and emotional well-being. He has spoken in places as far away as Israel about his use of the Feldenkrais Method to improve the lives of his students.
How can Adam help you?
Adam has been featured and interviewed in numerous periodicals and podcasts from Psychology Today to Reader’s Digest. To book Adam to speak at your event, contact him at email@example.com To learn more about Adam's writing, visit our books page.