Teaching is central to my interests. Every semester I meet students with vast, disparate musical interests and aspirations. My students bring with them a variety of experiences and learning styles that require a multi-faceted, student-centered pedagogy. As a teacher and mentor, I aim to provide students with the tools to become better musicians, to think critically about music, and most importantly, to become curious and independent learners.
Before starting my current position, I taught at Florida State University, The University of Western Ontario, Ithaca College, and The University of Miami. I have taught the full-range of core undergraduate music theory and aural skills courses, as well as graduate courses in music theory pedagogy, readings in contemporary music theory, and the analysis of popular music.
Here are descriptions of the courses I’ve taught recently:
Music Theory I
This course comprises the first semester of the core music theory sequence for all undergraduate music majors. We will begin by reviewing music fundamentals and basic principles of music notation. The primary goal of the course, though, is to become familiar with analytical terms and symbols that communicate the essential compositional tools of tonal music. We will study dissonance treatment and melodic writing by composing species counterpoint in two voices. Subsequently, we will apply these principles to the study of functional harmony through compositional and analytical exercises in four-voice writing and other common-practice and contemporary tonal music idioms.
Music Theory III
In this class, we will continue to study the materials of common-practice tonal music, drawing mostly from the Western classical canon, and occasionally from North American popular music. Students will learn the tools necessary to analyze tonal music drawn from the classical common practice repertoire and articulate their findings in their writing. Through regular quizzes, assignments, and projects, students will gain facility to compose tonal music that models the idioms eighteenth-century keyboard music, nineteenth-century Romantic lieder and character pieces
Music Theory V
In this class, we will investigate changes in musical technique that occurred around 1900 whose ramifications continue today. In particular, we will examine several systems of musical organization that replaced common-practice tonality in much Western “classical” music. By the end of this course you will be able to identify (aurally and analytically) referential pitch collections and common compositional manipulations of them to create phrases and form. You will be able to identify the salient characteristics and compositional strategies for these works and apply your knowledge to unfamiliar works
Form and Analysis
This course will provide a detailed exploration of William Caplin’s theory of formal functions in music of the classical style. The emphasis will be on familiarizing students with Caplin’s bottom-up method of analysis, which begins with the smallest units of music and proceeds to the largest, eventually reaching the pinnacle of classical structure, sonata form. Particular emphasis is placed on the conventional theme types introduced in Theory III and IV such as the sentence, period, and hybrid themes. The course will draw on students knowledge of small-scale harmonic progressions as the primary means of analyzing form. Thus, stressed throughout the course is the importance of harmony in determining the role, or function, a unit of form plays in a larger whole.
Music Theory 4
In this class, we will continue to study the materials of common-practice tonal music, drawing mostly from the Western classical canon, and occasionally from North American popular music. Students will learn the tools necessary to analyze tonal music drawn from the Common Practice repertoire and articulate their findings in their writing. Through regular quizzes, assignments, and projects, students will gain facility to compose tonal music that models the idioms of nineteenth-century Romantic lieder and character pieces.