Brian N.

Philadelphia, PA


D.M.A. + College Teaching Experience = A Great Music Tutor!

In-person lessons
5+ Hours
Background check passed as of 12/2/11
5.0 average from 5 ratings


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Trinity University
University of Michigan
Rice University


Trinity University

University of Michigan (Master's)

Rice University (PhD)

About Brian

Looking for a highly experienced music tutor? Do you need a tutor who understands the student's perspective? What about a tutor who's been a music student, and a music faculty member? How about a tutor with college teaching experience? Need a tutor who has a large variety of teaching resources in music? Ever thought about a tutor who understands both the teaching and learning perspectives in the classroom? Want a tutor who has practical experience in working with the different learning styles of music students?

Do you find yourself saying, "Yes!", or "I've never thought about that before," to one or more of these questions? Then you've found the right tutor!

I have a B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. in Music Composition. I've taken the following courses in my many years as a student: Composition, Music Theory, Aural Skills, Music Theory Pedagogy, Schenkerian Analysis, Forms & Analysis, Tonal Counterpoint, Modal Counterpoint, Orchestration, 20th Century Analysis, Aesthetics of Music, Electronic Music, Music History, Music of the Renaissance, Shakespeare and Music, Early Modern Masters, Music of Brahms, Music of Schoenberg, Women in Music, History of Music Theory, 20th Century Music, Organ Performance, Organ Literature, Organ Construction, Keyboard Skills, Organ Improvisation, and Keyboard Score Reading.

Having served as a music faculty member at several schools, I've taught the following courses: Composition, Music Theory, Aural Skills, Keyboard Skills, Orchestration, Music Appreciation, and Music Fundamentals.

I've found teaching to be very rewarding. I approach my lessons with patience, honesty, consistency, and thoroughness. Too often in the classroom, students are told to learn something simply because their teacher tells them they must know it. I teach in way that accepts a student's initial confusion, and instead first helps them to recognize why a particular concept is useful. Recognition really makes the move to comprehension a much smaller step, rather than just presenting an endless stream of exercises until comprehension is achieved. I find students learn better by understanding why we need something, before knowing how it works. This way they will better remember a lesson by recognizing the importance of that lesson.

So, do you want the most experienced, thorough, and educated Wyzant Music Tutor in the Philadelphia area? Then look no further!
Looking for a highly experienced music tutor? Do you need a tutor who understands the student's perspective? What about a tutor who's been a music student, and a music faculty member? How about a tutor with college teaching experience? Need a tutor who has a large variety of teaching resources in music? Ever thought about a tutor who understands Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 4 miles of Philadelphia, PA 19104
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons
Music History

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Composition (Music)

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.

Ear Training

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.

Music History

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.

Music Theory

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.

Sight Singing

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.

Trinity University
University of Michigan
Rice University


Trinity University

University of Michigan (Master's)

Rice University (PhD)

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $50.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Brian will travel within 4 miles of Philadelphia, PA 19104.