Yearly Archives: 2017

Dec 21 12/21/17

Second Chances, Coffee Pots, and How to College

By | 2018-02-02T01:51:32+00:00 December 21st, 2017|All Things Educator, Real Talk|

I had a student this semester named “Zach” (obviously that wasn’t his real name, but let’s pretend it was). Zach came into my course not knowing much, but was excited to learn and clearly loving the material. He participated every day in class, answered questions about listening projects, and did well on all of the tests and quizzes. Just one problem… he was one of a small handful of students who hadn’t turned in a single assignment all semester. For the record, assignments are 40% of the overall grade. After sending a gentle reminder to the students who hadn’t done [...]

Nov 3 11/3/17

No, You’ll Never Use This… And That’s Okay!

By | 2017-12-21T19:09:18+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|All Things Educator, Let's Pretend I'm a Philosopher|

This semester I'm teaching two separate sets of classes at the University of Miami: Fundamentals for music minor and musical theatre majors, and aural skills for freshmen and sophomores. Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the way the Frost School of Music at UM handles music theory, we have a slightly different approach than most traditional institutions. The Experiential Music Curriculum here heavily incorporates things like composition, improvisation, and small ensemble playing in courses so that every lesson gets put into a context where the student is actively playing their instrument. It's a great system that I [...]

Oct 29 10/29/17

Ten Things You Should Do if You Want to Write Choral Music

By | 2018-02-01T21:44:18+00:00 October 29th, 2017|Tips and Tricks, The Composer Life|

Throughout my entire composing duration, I’ve always found my experiences writing for choir to be my most gratifying—and not just from a money-making standpoint. There’s something special about writing for a choir. It’s at once grand and simple, and something about human voices makes both the works themselves and their performances more vulnerable than writing instrumental music. Whenever I need to be reminded how much I love composing, I usually default to writing another choral piece. On multiple occasions, I’ve been approached by a student or peer asking me how to “go about” writing for choir, either in the context [...]