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Composition Musicianship for Vocalists
Brief Description of How I Train My Students
I am a skill-oriented instructor. This means that I am more concerned about what you can do as opposed to how many songs you know. Skills are abilities such as reading music, improvising, composing, transcribing, recording, notating, performing and so on.
Scheduling formats are: 1) one hour lesson every week; 2) one hour lesson every two weeks; 3) half-hour lesson every week. I do have some students that have irregular work schedules (e.g. Nurses, Firefighters, Retail, etc.) that 'float' on my schedule: They email or text every one, two, or three weeks and find a spot where there is a cancellation or open time that fits their schedule that particular week.
Students may study multiple instruments at no additional charge. There are no registration fees, copy fees, cancelled lessons are not required to be made up, and there is not a cancellation fee. Reasonable notice is expected for a cancellation, and I do expect to be paid for a no-show.
Lessons take place in a fully equipped home recording studio or in the student's home in the locations that I travel to IF I have an opening on the day(s) that I travel.
For lessons Via webcam: Skype for video and DropBox for pdf Docs.
Lessons are goal-oriented with a long-term, written plan.
When working with recordings (MP3/Youtube) that a student has brought in or requested, I do not spoon-feed the songs to my students. Instead, I train my students to become skilled enough to learn these songs independently. In the early stages, I might provide a chorus melody, etc., but might leave out the verse melody for the student to 'sound out'. I'll sometimes provide the first few notes or let the student see how it is played once, so that they are more likely to be successful -- but still need to use and develop their ears. I then follow up with training and guidance, as needed, in the next lesson.
I train all of my students to be able to read music. Since I do not use method books, the process is quite painless and is nothing to be afraid of. I can train you to be quite proficient at reading music with a modest effort on your part.
I train my students in Music Theory, Composition, and Aural Skills (pitch training). Additionally, I encourage all of my non-keyboard students to become keyboard-literate.
It is my belief that there is no one pedagogy that is best for every student. While there are many concepts that work for most people, it is my opinion that there are and always will be exceptions.
While my knowledge of music is quite extensive, I do not claim to know everything. When in doubt, I will use the "Harvard Dictionary of Music" as the most valid source.
I have no age restrictions for whom I am capable of teaching, however, for very young children I do require a parent, guardian or the like be present in the lessons.
Composition training includes serial composition as well as understanding chord function and the Classical forms.
Aural skill training is primarily based on relative pitch and quality recognition. These are perhaps the most important, yet overlooked, set of skills.
Recording: Many of my students record every so often during one (or more, if needed) of the lessons. There are no additional costs for this and it has become a significant part of the lesson plan as a progress marker, motivational tool, and diagnostic aid.
I have no affiliation with any music store or retailer. I may recommend certain stores based on personal experience, general quality of merchandise and service, fair pricing, and honest return policies.
I have anticipated the most frequently asked questions above. If you have gotten this far, you are more than likely ready to schedule your first lesson. I accept students on a first-come, first-served basis. The best way to get in touch with me is via email or text. I teach a lot, and can not answer a phone call while I am with a student.
Musical Concepts Trained Include:
Circle of Fifths
Roman Numeral Analysis
Relative and Parallel Keys and Modes
Progression, Retrogression, and Elision
Leading-Tone and Secondary Leading-Tone Chords
Neapolitan 6 (or 6th) Chords
Augmented 6th Chords
Simple, Compound, and Complex Meter
Composition for String Quartet
Composition for Orchestra
32 Bar Form