Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that each student has a learning style that is unique. My approach is to teach each student accordingly, utilizing their strengths to help their weaknesses, while evolving their musical growth. My goals are to raise their skill levels and to expand their horizons of listening and awareness of the sounds and music around them.

Private Piano Studio 1981 to present

University Teaching Experience

VCFA logo VCFA is the first low-residency MFA Music Composition program in the U.S. In this pioneering program, faculty teach their students (who live all around the world) one on one through the Internet, phone and occasionally face to face. At the end of each 6 month semester, staff, faculty and students all come together at VCFA in Montpelier, VT. for a week long intensive residency that includes performances of their work by outstanding professional ensembles for Contemporary Classical Music, Jazz/ Latin/Rock Music and World Music. The students give master classes, while the faculty give presentations and workshops. In addition there is a Film Music Festival, Electro-Acoustic Concert and a Singer/Songwriter Showcase of student and faculty work.

Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont

Faculty Member, MFA Music Composition Department, Aug 2012-present. Teaching composition on a one to one basis with students, as well as presentations, lectures and workshops on compositional techniques.

Lectures and Workshops Presented at VCFA 2012-Present

The Music of Alvin Singleton
Hailed as “soulful with an understated simplicity, never cold, always warm, refusing to pander to academia or populism, but listeners flock to it anyway!” (Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine), Alvin Singleton’s music is beyond category and labels. His works range from full orchestra, chamber orchestra, chamber ensemble, choral, voices and instrumental, and include everything from traditional notation to non-traditional notation. He is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and is a Fulbright Scholar. During this lecture, students created a lexicon based on listening to and analyzing Alvin Singleton’s music.
(Feb 9, 2016)
Deep Listening: The Practice of Pioneering Composer Pauline Oliveros
There’s more to listening than meets the ear. Pauline Oliveros herself describes Deep Listening as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.” Deep Listening explores the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature—exclusive and inclusive—of listening. The practice includes bodywork, sonic meditations, interactive performance,listening to the sounds of daily life, nature, one’s own thoughts, imagination and dreams,and listening to listening itself. It cultivates a heightened awareness of the sonic environment, both external and internal, and promotes experimentation, improvisation,collaboration, playfulness and other creative skills vital to personal and community growth.This workshop continued our exploration of Deep Listening exercises.
(Feb 7, 2016)
Lessons from R. Murray Schafer
In the late 1960’s, composer, environmentalist, educator, scholar and visual artist, R. Murray Schafer, created the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University (Canada) as an attempt to draw attention to the sonic environment through a course in noise pollution. In the process, he coined the phrase “soundscape” and created a new field of study called acoustic ecology, with spin off areas of study such as sound studies, acoustic design and more. When John Cage was asked to name a great music teacher he answered “Murray Schafer of Canada”. Schafer explained “Today, all sounds belong to a continuous field of possibilities lying within the comprehensive dominion of music. Behold the new orchestra: the sonic universe! And the musicians:anyone and anything that sounds!” (from ” Soundscape, the Tuning of the World; Our Sonic Environment” (Destiny Books 1977).
This lecture explored his background, music, his work in environmental activism through the study of sound, and how that correlates with music composition.
(Aug 5, 2015)
Ear Cleaning; Notes on an Experimental Music Course by R. Murray Schafer
Composer, educator, performer and visual artist R. Murray Schafer put together a series of experimental music courses for young people,one of them being a course on ear cleaning, or, how to listen more effectively. This workshop explored Schafer’s music, philosophy and his exercises on “ear cleaning”. (Aug, 4 2015)
Deep Listening: The Practice of Pioneering Composer Pauline Oliveros
There’s more to listening than meets the ear. Pauline Oliveros describes Deep Listening as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.” Deep Listening explores the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature – exclusive and inclusive — of listening. The practice includes bodywork, sonic meditations, interactive performance, listening to the sounds of daily life, nature, one’s own thoughts, imagination and dreams, and listening for the sake of listening.. It cultivates a heightened awareness of the sonic environment, both external and internal, and promotes experimentation, improvisation, collaboration, playfulness and other creative skills vital to personal and community growth. This lecture/workshop explored information on Pauline Oliveros, her music and Deep Listening exercises. (Feb 11, 2015)
Sound In Time and Place: Music and Architecture
Beginning with Pythagoras’s discovery of the mathematical ratios that make up the overtone series (circa 530 BC), architects have used these ratios in their designs, and composers have in turn, used architectural design dimensions for their compositions. This was an overview of a project conducted with students at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (NYC) who composed and performed their music based on the elements of the New School University Center. (Aug 4,2014)
Harmonizing A Melody
A hands-on workshop analyzing the many different ways a melody can be harmonized, with an emphasis on jazz harmony. (Aug 6, 2014)
Getting Your Music Out There: Part 1 – The Music
From the idea of a composition to the release of a CD, this 2 part presentation and workshop followed the process and journey of Diane Moser’s recent CD release: “The Diane Moser Quintet-Music for The Last Flower”. (Feb 9 2014)
Getting Your Music Out There: Part 2 – Nuts and Bolts
Looking at the elements of putting together a CD; the concept, musicians, the budget, funding sources, recording, engineers, mastering, photographers, graphic design, record labels, music critics, radio play, CD release performance, public relations, social media and websites. (Feb 10 2014)
Jazz Harmony
The basics of jazz harmony and how it borrows and is different from 18th century harmony. (with faculty member Andy Jaffe Feb 15 2014)
Score preparation for Jazz/Rock/Pop/Latin
A workshop focusing on the basics of score set-up and parts layout. (with faculty member Andy Jaffe Aug 6 2013)
Expanding the form in Jazz Composition
The Music of Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, George Russell and Charles Mingus
A look at the music of these pioneering jazz composers and their contributions to the evolution of jazz composition. (Aug 11 2013)
Conduction and Sound Painting
A look at the works of Butch Morris and Walter Thompson: Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Jazz Cornetist, Composer and Conductor was an innovator in the art of Conduction (conducted improvisation/interpretation). Walter Thompson, composer, saxophonist, percussionist and conductor developed the multidisciplinary live composing sign language known as Sound Painting. This lecture explored the music of Butch Morris and Walter Thompson, their work in conduction and a demonstration of “Soundpainting” with members of the audience. (Feb 11 2013)
How Do You Compose The Unknown?
A workshop that focused on integrating improvisation into composition with a look at traditional and non-traditional vocabulary for improvisation, and how to integrate and score that vocabulary. (Feb 13 2013)
Found Sounds: Exploring Your Environment for Compositional Tools
Inspiration and ideas for compositions can come from anywhere and everywhere.
Diane Moser will shared her explorations of the environment that inspired her compositions from birdsongs, to urban sounds, astronomy and storytelling. (Aug 7, 2012)

The New School Logo I have had the privilege of teaching composition, improvisation and performance techniques to these wonderfully talented students since 2006. The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music was founded by David Levy, former dean of Parsons The New School for Design, saxophonist Arnie Lawrence and Paul Weinstein, the first chairperson of the program in 1986. The school holds the philosophy that artists should be mentors, so many of our faculty are not only working professionals, but also pioneers in their field.

The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New York, NY

Faculty Member, New School Jazz, 2006-Present

Independent Study-Fall 2016
My first time doing this at the New School and it was a wonderful experience! I worked with 3 students on 3 different but in some ways related projects. Our work involved:project management i.e. organizing a timeline of the project, writing proposals, presenting proposals, organizing musicians and other key personnel and when to do what! I also assisted on vast amounts of research for each project, discussed recording and editing techniques, mentored on compositional and improvisational ideas and techniques, and lots of creative problem solving for each project. The projects were: 1) propose,create and perform a film score for the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Birds”(performed May 13th, 2016), 2) continued work on a percussion and bass ensemble piece about Vancouver Island, 3) propose, create and perform music (a vocal quartet) based on issues around climate change.

Linear Composition – Fall 2006, Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2014
A composition/ensemble class designed and still taught by saxophonist, Jane Ira Bloom. Students work on various styles of jazz, new music composition and improvisation. Through that work, they create compositions for the ensemble, some of which are performed at the end of the semester.

Composers Forum – Fall 2008, Spring 2009
A composition class designed to be a workshop for young composers to work on non-traditional compositional concepts. The class culminated
in a performance of those compositions.
Composers Forum: Composing Outside of the “Jazz Box” – 2012
A special edition of Composers Forum looking at the influence of Contemporary Music on Jazz and Avant Garde composition. This course explored non-traditional ways of organizing sound, rhythm, harmony, notation, texture, timbre and musical form for improvisation and composition. Students worked on semi-weekly compositional/improvisational assignments based on : electronic music, graphic scores, tonality/microtonality, extended techniques, soundpainting and environmental composition. The class also focused on the music of these composers: Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis, Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Earl Brown, Gyorgy Ligeti,George Crumb,Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Phillip Glass, Satoko Fujii, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, John Zorn, Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway, Earl Howard, Denman Maroney, Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams and Will Parson’s “Citizen’s Band”.

As a final project, students composed music for a the “John Cage 2012 Music Circus Festival” in collaboration with the Eugene Lang College and Mannes The New School for Music.

Words and Music – Fall 2009, Fall 2010
A composition/ensemble class using words as a compositional tool. In addition to working with those tools, students examined the historic collaborations of Charles Mingus/Langston Hughes, David Amram/Jack Kerouac, Bill Zavatsky/ Marc Copland, Jayne Cortez/Ornette Coleman, as well as poets Steve Dalachinsky, John O’Hara, composer/saxophonist/poet Oliver Lake and many others. The class culminated in a performance of their compositions.
Sound In Time – Spring 2010, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
A composition/ensemble class designed by bassist Mark Dresser to explore non-traditional ways of organizing sound, rhythm, harmony, notation, texture, timbre and musical form for improvisation and composition.

Students created a personal lexicon on these areas of focus which included: electronic music, graphic scores, tonality/micro-tonality, extended techniques, Soundpainting , extra-musical inspiration and environmental composition. Through sharing these lexicons, students created “tailor-made” improvisational scores for members of the class on a weekly basis and for a performance at the end of semester.

Contemporary Jazz and Its Exponents – Spring 2011, Spring 2012
A lecture course that covers the jazz “Avant-Garde” and “Free Jazz” from its inception in the 1950’s and 1960’s to the present day. The class listened to and analyzed music of such classic artists as Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, late-period John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Anthony Braxton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Henry Threadgill, and others who have pushed the boundaries of modern jazz. It also covered more recent developments in the jazz, including both the continuing avant-garde and the eclectic and international contemporary scene. The course included an investigation of the social context of this music (connection with the Civil Rights movement, African Cultural Nationalism, and other social and political movements of the late 20th century). This course introduced students to, and developed their appreciation for, the great variety of progressive jazz from the second half of the 20th century, and showed how this music relates to the jazz mainstream.

The Stone Workshops – Fall 2012
A series of workshops given by various ground breaking artists (Terry Riley, Laurie Anderson, Uri Caine, Cyro Baptista, Mark Ribot, Geri Allen and others) put together by John Zorn involving the Mannes School of Music and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music students. My role in this was to facilitate conversation between the students on what they learned, and how that affected their performance and compositional practices.

Flash Mob – Spring 2013
A special projects class, co-taught with percussionist Scott Kettner. Students composed and organized “Flash Mob” performances throughout New York City. Some examples; an acapella vocal performance on a “moving” B subway train (which I conducted through the technique of Soundpainting), a percussion performance at the Crest Hardware store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, using trash cans, buckets, scrappers etc from the store (structure and concept of the piece by Scott Kettner), a “bottle ocarina, vocal and melodica” performance in the courtyard at Lang College,, various vocal and instrumental “hits” in the elevators and stairwells at the school, and a vocal/instrumental piece in Central Park, NYC.
Sound In Time and Place: Music and Architecture – Fall 2013
This class was a special composition project; composing music based on the elements of the new University Center at the New School on fifth avenue .The music was performed on site for the grand opening in January 2014.

Beginning with Pythagoras’s discovery of the mathematical ratios that make up the overtone series (circa 530 BC), architects have used these ratios in their designs, and composers have in turn, used architectural design dimensions for their compositions. In this class we explored how musical terms such as rhythm, texture, harmony, proportion, dynamics, and articulation refer both to architecture and to music. Rhythm in music is patterns of sounds in relation to a beat; repetition of elements – openings, shapes, structural bays- establish regular or irregular rhythm in architecture. Musical texture refers to layers of sounds and rhythms produced by different instruments. Architectural texture appears in different materials. Harmony is balance of sound or composition and balance of parts together. Proportion is relationship between parts; in music it is distance between notes or intervals. Dynamics is the quality of action in music or in a building’s facade or mass. Students explored various composer/architect collaborations with an in-depth look at the music of Iannis Xenakis. During the course of the semester, student Quentin Tschofen created a WordPress site that allowed everyone to share resources, document students’ work and performances.

Sound In Time and Place: Exploring Sound in the Silence – Spring 2014
This edition of Sound In Time and Place explored sound in perceived silence through a collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art and their current exhibit; “There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage 4’33”. In this class, students used various elements from the exhibit to create new compositions: collages as graphic scores, re-interpreted performance art, and used the process of each artist as a new compositional tool. The music was recorded and installed on a Sound Map on the MoMA website. The class created a WordPress site that documented their work.
Independent Study – Fall 2015
Working with students individually on projects that included research, composition, recording, scoring for media and performance.

Upsala College East Orange, NJ

Undergraduate level Professor of Piano-private lessons, and substitute in theory classes 1990-1992.
I also ran a concert series of professional music ensembles to perform and give lecture/demonstrations to the students.

Brooklyn College Brooklyn, NY

Accompanist and resident composer for dance department, 1981-1982.

San Diego State University San Diego, CA

Accompanist and composer for dance department, 1979-1980.

Residencies

Meadowland Environmental Center, Lyndhurst, NJ April & May 2013

A 2 month residency that included performances of my works: “Music of the Spheres” a 4 movt composition, premiered and performed by Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band, and “The Birdsong Project” performed by Anton Denner-flute, Ken Filiano-bass, and myself on piano. I designed two weekends of site-specific workshops, bringing together science and music. This project was funded by a grant from New Music USA’s Metlife Creative Connections Program, The Ramapo College of New Jersey and the Meadowlands Environmental Commission.

Pythagoras, Kepler, Math and Music (April)

In this workshop, participants learned about Pythagoras and his discovery of the ratios of the overtone series in music, and various individuals who used those ratios in their work. The group took measurements of the room, including chairs, tables, and even a stuffed Mallard, converted those measurements to musical intervals and then played those intervals either on their own instruments or through the software program Garage Band.
We employed rulers, clipboards and other objects in the room to create a percussion background. We then did a “mix” of those sounds and created our “room composition” which was uploaded to Soundcloud.

“Soundscapes and Birdsong” (May)

In this workshop, a nature-sound walk was conducted around DeKorte Park (home of the Meadowlands Environmental Center) recording the sounds of nature, using cell phones and other devices, which were then uploaded to Soundcloud. A soundscape composition was created using those recordings.

Workshops 1978-present

I have presented workshops on performance/composition/theory and improvisation, for primary, secondary and college level students, below are a few highlighted workshops.

University of California at San Diego Jazz Camp/Jazz Topics Series June 2009

Lecture/Workshop: “Found Sounds-Using Your Environment as a Compositional Tool”

Columbia High School Sept. 2005

Composition Workshop: As part of a grant from Meet The Composer, I taught 4 workshops on my music, my compositional and improvisational style, at Columbia High School, which is a part of the South Orange/Maplewood School District in Essex County, New Jersey. The students I taught were part of a class called Musicians Workshop. This class was designed for those students who are involved in music in a nontraditional way (i.e. garage bands, self-taught etc.). The first 2 workshops were spent listening to my composition “Music for The Last Flower”, and talking about my compositional/improvisational processes and styles. In the third and fourth workshops, I taught my composition to the students and they performed it during their class.

NYC Tapworks 1988-1992

Workshops and performances throughout the NY/NJ region with this tap dance ensemble.

Center for The Arts Summer Arts Camp Stewart, FL Summer 1984 & 1985

Worked with the dance company Babs & Co. and students to create music for their choreography.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum Brooklyn, NY 1985-1987

Museum Educator on and off premises.
I created a program entitled “Found Sounds” which I presented daily at the museum. The program introduced instruments from around the world, and involved the children in making their own instruments from everyday materials. I also taught in the museum’s program “Hospital Outreach”, bringing instruments from around the world into the pediatric wards of hospitals in New York City. Through lecture/demonstration they learned about the origins of each instrument, how they were made and special uses in each culture. Children learned how to play the instruments, and through games and improvisation techniques they played together as an ensemble.

Improvisational Quartet-CETA Program San Diego CA 1978-1979

Workshops and performances throughout San Diego Co, San Diego, CA