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Phillip A.

Unique Music Instruction and Intensive Math Tutoring

San Jose, CA (95112)

Travel radius
20 miles
Hourly fee
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Phillip A. passed a background check on 5/23/13. The check was ordered by another user through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

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Through my own experiences as both a student and a teacher, it has become apparent to me that many times when a student is having difficulty understanding a new concept, it is due to the unawareness of the instructor, not the student. Many times the instructor has assumptions and pieces of knowledge that he/she is unaware of that enable him/her to understand the concept he/she is explaining; bad explanation is the result of the teacher assuming that the student already has this knowledge because it seems so obvious to the teacher. Typically, teachers like this will blame a student for not understanding a subject(not that they do it explicitly, but rather they hold it their own mind that the student is merely lacking in talent when this is rarely the case). But my experience tells me that it is almost always the teacher's fault (if the student is giving effort) and that any reasonably healthy student cannot help but be perfectly logical and perfectly able to integrate new understandings into their present body of knowledge with the proper instruction.

Basically, I see each student as a puzzle to be solved. It takes a great amount of analysis of a student to be able to tell precisely what small pieces of the big picture are missing that have perhaps been glossed over for most of their education without anyone knowing, and I take much pride in my ability to figure out what the student may be missing, or what others have assumed was there because it seemed common sense to them but was clearly missing in the student!

I specialize in both mathematics and musical improvisation/composition, specifically on the guitar. I am three time Arizona All-State Champion on Jazz Guitar and am generally acknowledged as the best, most knowledgeable and most innovative musician (especially among guitarists) in any circle of people I interact with and have ever met. I pride myself on understanding how to develop unique musical voices and have an extreme understanding of improvisational and compositional music theory. I will teach any style but I specialize in Jazz and in developing any unique ideas that the student may have - whether they want to play the guitar with two fingers and a beer bottle or if they want to be calculating math equations in their head to tell them what to play next, I will help them to discover and cultivate skills that will set them apart from all the copycatting that pervades the styles of the afraid and musically unadventurous. I will also impose a very strict and intense curriculum, helping the student to achieve maximum success in minimal time (if the student is ambitious enough to do so), but mostly I will tailor the lessons to the student's level of energy, creativity and ambition.

Mathematics is my second love, and I LOVE teaching mathematics!!! I feel that I always have things to learn even in the most basic mathematics and am always actively engaged in what the student is studying to better both my understanding as well as the student's. What I believe makes me a successful math teacher is that I apply my experience with practicing and developing skills as a musician with acquiring new skills as a mathematician. I find that the same principles that create a well practiced musician apply to mathematics as well! Also, I have the experience that my understanding of basic mathematics far exceeds that of nearly all mathematicians I have ever met, so I feel particularly qualified to teach lower levels of mathematics (high school/college math through advanced calculus) and I always have the highest grade in my math class, I refuse to be beaten!

Either way, I love teaching so much because I love learning so much and I am constantly learning while I am teaching - its perfect fun! And when I'm not teaching or learning math or music, I am talking about it with friends, so this is really what I would be doing anyway and I love it! Also, I love to have my students become awesome at their respective subjects, I think it is the best to watch their skills improve through the years, and I want them to become better then I ever was - sometimes I really wish I had a teacher like me when I was a kid, but I suppose it had to start somewhere. Basically, I love talent and skill and people who do amazing things, and I hope to be one of them and I hope to help fill the world more completely with them so we can see amazing people doing amazing things all the time!

(as a final note, it says in my checklist of preferred teaching subjects that I do not teach alegebra I or pre-algebra, but I was only allowed to pick 10 boxes, so you can consider those checked as well!)

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Phillip’s subjects

ACT Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Calculus, Differential Equations, Discrete Math, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Prealgebra, Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Statistics, Trigonometry
Chemistry, Physical Science, Physics
Composition (Music), Ear Training, General Music, Guitar, Music Theory, Songwriting
Elementary Education:
Elementary Math
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Calculus, Chemistry, Geometry, Physics, Prealgebra, Precalculus, SAT Math, Statistics
Test Preparation:
Corporate Training:

Composition (Music)

I have an extremely thorough background in music theory. I studied music theory at USC, and have done so for years afterwards. I not only have absorbed the traditional repetoire of classical and jazz harmonic/melodic knowledge, but have an extensive background in experimental forms of music composition and also have engaged in analysis of pop music for the last 7 years or so, and have formulated my own theoretical basis for the construction of music. I can help a student master classical modes of composition, jazz composition, or any style whatsoever. If the student would like to invent their own style and are sufficiently willing to put in the effor, I will help them construct a theoretical basis for doing so. I am able to help the student analyze any type of music to extract their favorite logical elements and incorporate them into their playing. I can essentially teach you anything you could ever hope to learn as long as you are a dedicated student, and I have much backgroung with success in the educational arena!

Differential Equations

I'm a professional mathematician. The techniques for solving differential equations, be them wave equations, diffusion equations, or coupled sets of linear oscillators are well under my belt and I have full confidence that I can effectively direct a student through all the basics with ease.

I have used differential equations in a variety of contexts, including modeling aerodynamics and wave optics. I've taught several students in differential equations before and am well versed with the methods involved in solving all common types of differential equation - be it analytic, numerical, or symbolic (computational).


I am the most serious student of guitar and music theory that I have ever met. I am the most practiced and I am always considered by the musical circles in which I circulate to be the best, most innovative and most knowledgable guitarist with hardly an argument to the contrary. I have won first place in All-State Jazz Guitar competitions for each of the three consecutive years I tried out. I was accepted to the USC guitar department which only accepts around 8 students per year, which I subsequently left after 2 years because of the simplistic curriculum and lack of innovative mindset in the faculty (I changed majors to physics, and I love math!) I constantly push myself to the limits of my musical perception, and attempt to push even those boundaries in the process. The reasons I believe that I am most uniquely qualified to be a guitar instructor are my understanding and analysis of the student mindset and ability to create plans of action and custom exercizes for any student (me included!) with any aspirations (especially grandiose ones!). I absolutely love teaching and I love students with great ambition, and I love watching them improve, and helping them fulfill their wildest ideas of what they would like to be able to play on the guitar.

I specialize in improvisation. This applies to any style (save maybe classical!). I will work with the student to develop a unique harmonic/melodic/rhythmic/conceptual/technical framework with the aim of individuality and innovation. I want to see more amazing things in this world come to pass and will do whatever I can to help people with enough will power to realize and execute those amazing things!

I have thousands of hours of experience in million dollar studios and have extreme experience with arrangement and studio guitar practices, which I could surely impart to any student. I am constantly evolving my theoretical understanding of the both the guitar and music theory alike and whoever studies with me will have access to what I perceive to be the cutting edge of musical and guitar oriented knowledge.

Linear Algebra

I work as a mathematician and machine learning expert in an analysis group at a company developing a miniature spectrometer.

If I could describe my job in 2 words, those two words would be: "Linear Algebra"!

I think about and do linear algebra for approximately 8 hours a day every weekday. It's what I do!

Music Theory

I know more about music theory than any one person I have ever met in my life. I have incorporated volumes of knowledge into my basis of theoretical understanding of music. I am thoroughly versed in counterpoint techniques, harmonic techniques, melodic and rhythmic techniques, whereas most music theorists are only trained in the first two. This makes me uniquely qualified to analyze and teach popular forms of music of any type, as well as anything as advanced as the more erudite methods of modern classicists. Almost anything the student would like to study, I can teach.

Read all subject qualifications »

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University of Southern California (Physics)

Superb Tutor — Phillip is a wonderful tutor! He is patient and very knowledgeable, two qualities I found very useful as I nailed out many of the kinks I had while learning College Physics. As he guides you through problems, he's thorough, and makes for certain that before the end of each session you've mastered the material. He is very invested and dedicated to his work as well as your success, willing to help y ...

— Jenny from San Jose, CA on 3/29/12

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $110.00

Travel policy

Phillip will travel within 20 miles of San Jose, CA 95112.

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