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I've taught composition in a university setting for 3 years. I have three degrees in Music Composition, a B.M., an M.M., and a D.M.A. I've composed works for chamber groups, orchestra, electronic mediums, and theater. Having been performed by groups such as the San Antonio Symphony, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the Olmos Ensemble, the Rice University Symphony Orchestra, and the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, I am always looking for the next performance opportunity.
I enjoy helping students realize their own work by presenting options and possibilities they might not have considered in their composition's development. Compositional topics I've discussed in my past lessons have included: inspiration, intuition versus structure, effective climactic gestures, what performers like to play, and texture as a means of form.
I view composition as the act of creating music through improvisation, the writing of sounds in symbolic notation on paper, or the production of sound electronically by computer. Composers generally notate their music for the purpose of performance. Many software products, like Finale and Sibelius, exist to assist the composer in computerized notation. Software sequencer programs, like Logic and Ableton, exist to help composers realize their music with electronic sounds.
Composers generally consider numerous factors before writing a piece. These may include: the size of the ensemble, the purpose of the music, the technical constraints of the performers, the structure of the work, and the duration of the piece. The ability to musically realize his/her scores and demonstrate an understanding of his/her material is generally required of a university composition student.
I've taught ear training in a university setting for 5 years. I believe students have more ear training inside them than they generally realize; it is more a matter of getting them to trust what they are hearing. Most students must develop an innate confidence first, before advancing in ear training. I enjoy helping students explore their hearing capability through a tightly defined pedagogical approach of simple exercises, testing, and evaluation.
The training of the ear, generally taught in music schools by means of various exercises, helps a musician develop a more discriminating aural response to music. These exercises are usually broken down into various categories such as: intervals, rhythmic dictation, melodic dictation, two-voice contrapuntal dictation, harmonic dictation, and cadences identification. The degrees of difficulty in these exercises are determined by the level of chromaticism introduced. Most ear training lessons begin with diatonic dictation and move to more chromatic dictation (i.e., the augmented-sixth chord or secondary functions) as the student becomes more familiar with common patterns.
Having received a D.M.A. in Composition, I've taken numerous music history courses in my time as a student. I've studied general Western musical culture to specialized topics like Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Women in Music, World Music, and the History of Electronic Music.
The study of music history is generally concerned with the important periods, genres, works, and composers throughout Western musical culture. The usual accepted Western music historical periods are, in order: Greeco-Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, Post-Modern. Some important musical genres are: the motet, the madrigal, the cantata, the symphony, the romantic song, the opera, programmatic music, and absolute music. Some important composers and their works are: Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass, Bach's B-minor Mass, Mozart's Eine Kliene Nacht Music, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Schumann's Dichterliebe, Mahler's 2nd Symphony, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Stravnisky's The Rite of Spring, Davidovsky's Synchronisms.
I've taught music theory in a university setting for 5 years. I enjoy helping students understand the concepts through a tiered learning approach.
Beginner music theory courses are generally designed for undergraduate music majors and minors. Course topics may included: scales, intervals, figured bass symbols, triads, seventh chords, roman numerals, part-writing, secondary functions, period structure, and small forms. These topics create the core-foundation from which advanced music theory builds upon.
Advanced music theory courses are typically designed for undergraduate music majors. Course topics may included: mode mixture, the Neapolitan chord, augmented sixth chords, enharmonic respellings, altered dominants, late romantic harmony, modality, atonality, twelve-tone techniques, serialism, and modern musical techniques. Once a student has mastered these topics he/she is ready to move onto the most advanced topics of orchestration, counterpoint, Schenkerian analysis, Neo-Riemannian theory, etc.
I've taught sight singing in a university setting for 5 years. Sight singing and ear training really go together. Though many students are not adept in singing, learning to sing accurately can improve their ear-training capability.
Sight singing, generally taught in music schools, is designed to help a musician vocally and accurately reproduce a sheet music's pitches and rhythms with little preparation. Instruction general begins with solfege, a solamization system designed to help students better understand the hierarchical relationships between tones in a diatonic scale. The syllables generally include: DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, and TI (SI if using the Fixed-DO system). Two main solamization systems exist: Moveable-DO and Fixed-DO. Each system has its rewards and shortcomings. Fixed-Do is easier to remember, as there are less syllables. Some teachers feel it creates a better sense of pitch recognition because all note letter names, no matter what key, always have the same syllable. C is DO, D is RE, and C# is also DO, just as Db is also RE. However, some students prefer Moveable-DO to learn sight singing because the intervalic relationship between the syllables are always consistent. Movable-DO deals less with pitch name consistency and deals more with hierarchical diatonic consistency. In C-major C is DO, but in d-minor, D is DO. Because the DO moves depending on the key, chromatic pitches need to be accounted for in the solamization, for example: in C Major, C is DO, D is RE, but Db is RA, and C# is DI. Many students find Movable-DO easier to learn at first, but more difficult as chromaticism is introduced, a problem not present in Fixed-DO.