Gerald, born in Beaumont, Texas, started playing alto saxophone at the age of 11. As a freshman at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas he switched to playing the flute. During his years as an undergraduate at UNT he played with various local bands. Mindful of how unpredictable making a living as a musician could be, he studied business and received his BBA in Administrative Management.
It wasn't until moving to San Francisco in 1985 that he began immersing himself in the jazz scene. He started listening to various flutists, from Eric Dolphy, Frank Wess, Herbie Mann, Hubert Laws, to Dave Valentin, Paul Horn, and others. He studied jazz with Jim Grantham, Mel Martin, Brian Pardo, and John Gove, just to name a few. He spent 8 years studying flute at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Yada Weber, giving recitals of works by Mozart, Telemann, Gluck, and Ernest Bloch.