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Alden J.

Words and Music - English and Classical Music Everything

Oakland, CA (94609)

Travel radius
20 miles
Hourly fee
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If you're having trouble writing, I think I can help. I'm a careful and sympathetic reader, with a strong background in grammar and sentence structure, as well as organization of the whole. You can do it too.

If music is where you need some help --- let's go! I have been a professional composer and teacher of music for several decades now. I love all music and am curious about it all, from the most ancient to the most modern. My own family is made up of musicians (wife a composer, son a cellist).

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Alden’s subjects

Composition (Music)

I have composed music for dance, voice, large and small ensembles, and electronic media. I value and respect the creative impulse in whatever form it appears, and seek to understand and encourage the efforts of my students. I am also a life-long student of music myself: I have spent long hours studying the work of other composers, and have found this to be one of the best ways to develop my own skills and understanding. Please join me in this work.

Ear Training

Ear training is a skill basic not only to performance of any sort, but to listening to and understanding music. It is a necessary basis for music theory. I have a wide variety of techniques, games, and exercises you can do yourself, to sharpen your listening skills. I bring years of experience in choral singing and conducting, composition, and teaching to our work.

General Music

I have taught subjects in a wide variety of subjects in music history, ranging from medieval and renaissance forms to 20th Century innovations and electronic music. I have a special interest in the concert song literature. I place some emphasis on providing insights into the design of music, beyond the usual names and dates and general overview of styles. Tell me where you need to do some work, and we'll work together on it.

Music History

While a student at Yale University I had the honor of studying under Richard Crocker, Beekman Cannon, and Janet Knapp, all widely respected musicologists. At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music I have taught a wide variety of courses in music history:

"Twentieth Century Music"
"The Music of Stravinsky",
"Berg and Stravinsky",
"Sonata Form",
"Architectonics" (a unique course including music from Gregorian chant to Conlon Nancarrow's music for player piano),
"German Lieder"

In addition to these I have taught numerous courses in which music of all eras are analyzed. I am the author of a forthcoming paper on music of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

Music Theory

I am available to teach all topics falling under this heading, including harmony, counterpoint, and analysis. As a composer I can deal with both very recent music as well as the most ancient.


Songwriting requires the same set of skills as symphony writing, except that different instruments are involved. Organizing the notes up and down, left to right, not only "correctly" (there are many versions of "correct"!) but beautifully, is the goal toward which we work. And you need some words --- your own or another's, but they have to work with your melody. I have composed more songs than I can count. I would be happy to share my experience and work on your song with you.

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Yale College

University of California, Berkeley (Master's)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $60.00

Cancellation: 8 hours notice required

Travel policy

Alden will travel within 20 miles of Oakland, CA 94609.

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Usually responds in about 20 hours

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