St. Louis MO
“I see teaching as an art form,” says Steve. “I approach each block of years and students as a developing artwork. As with any artwork, we start from scratch.”
Steve has been a full-time teaching artist for 16 years, serving Los Angeles, Ferguson, and St. Louis. Using American Roots Music as his teaching tool, he works in neighborhoods where music programs don’t exist or are underfunded. Guitar, ukulele, banjitar, washboard, harmonica, and jug are just a few of the instruments his kids learn to play, individually and in ensembles.
A professional musician since age 15 (his father was a honky tonk/country western musician and gave him his first guitar at age six), Steve’s multitude of projects and collaborations include the Sir Charles Blues Lab, HOLA: Heart of Los Angeles Youth, NoHo Youth Arts, Halcyon Center for Child Studies, City of Los Angeles Parks & Recreation, Hollywood Urban project, Community Arts & Movement Project, The Musician’s Institute of Hollywood, and The Martin Dance Company.
For two decades, Steve also had a career as a location manager and producer in the film and television industry, working with the likes of Ray Stark and Hal Ashby on more than 40 features and TV films, some of which won Golden Globes and Emmy’s.
Despite his success in the film biz, the kid-friendly venture in the back of his mind blossomed into the Strings Attached Project. Today, Steve not only provides music education, but musical family as well.
“America’s music is filled with that solid back beat
that creates the atmosphere to dance, be happy, and let go of our
troubles,” he says. “That’s a skill I wish to pass on to other
Musician and community artist Horace Tapscott. “He lived and worked in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. He wasn’t really interested in celebrity, travel, nightclubs, concert halls, or the normal aspirations of most musicians to get their music out to a bigger stage all the time. He was interested in working with the community he lived in, and passing on the gift of music to younger people through teaching/mentoring. He saw that as a responsibility of artists, and made it a very noble profession. His writings and work with young people in the neighborhood were a model for me to start my work with Strings Attached.”
Steve is Listening to:
“Lately, I’ve been researching cowboy music, listening to Lomax collections of cowboy songs, and Jimmie Rodgers. Love old vinyl records and Duke Ellington, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman Sextet, Barney Kessel, Artie Shaw, Aaron Copeland, Ray Charles.”
Steve is Watching:
“I go out to movies, but I haven’t owned a television in 20 years or more. I like to sit in a lawn chair and watch trees move in the breeze and listen to birds. Unplugging from electronics gives me space to go to community arts events, lectures, music events in town, and play guitar and ukulele more.”