R teaching

I have taught in many different environments, adapting my teaching to existing curriculums and helping to develop new material for nascent programs. My teaching work in recent years has been primarily at the college level, but I enjoy working with students of all levels and backgrounds in music. Composing and singing are also significant elements in my quilt of musical activities, and they deepen my offerings as a teacher.

Since 2011, at Portland State University’s excellent School of Music, I have taught: Private Composition; Advanced Contemporary Music Analysis; Introduction to Composition Class (a year-long course for prospective composition majors); Composition Seminar; and Sight Singing & Ear Training. PSU composition majors produce two recitals to satisfy their degree requirement, recruiting and rehearsing performers to perform an hour and a half of their original music. My students come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences and bring unique gifts to the table as exceptional creative musicians.

This year, I am teaching private composition and serving as interim Composition Area Coordinator at Lewis & Clark College. I also served in this capacity at L&C for the 2014 academic year. In addition to private composition instruction and composition area recital curation, I have coordinated lecture series and master classes with guest artists such as Augusta Reed Thomas and Sara Carina Graef.

I have served on the faculty at the Creative Musicians Retreat in Dublin, New Hampshire since the summer of 2014. At this wonderful summer intensive program with guest artists such as esteemed composers Eve Beglarian and Martin Bresnick and virtuosic performers such as Wet Ink Ensemble and Mivos Quartet, I teach composition, musicianship, improvisation workshops and specialty classes delving into musical creativity.

I have served eleven summers on the composition faculty at The Walden School for young musicians. At Walden I have taught Private Composition; Composition Class; Musicianship; Orchestration; Writing for String Quartet; Traditional/Experimental Notation; Score Reading; Composing for the Voice, and more. Courses at Walden are intensive five-week courses for sophisticated young composers–the depth of material covered is analogous to a semester-length college course.

Other recent teaching activities include: starting up a new composition area at Young Musicians & Artists (YMA), another intensive summer program for young musicians at Willamette University; guest lecturing at Lewis & Clark College; and running a home studio for students of private composition and musicianship.

While working on my masters at Yale, I was awarded a year-long graduate theory teaching assistantship, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with Joan Panetti and explore her unique approach to teaching theory. “Hearing” she called it to refer to the active experience of listening critically to music in real time, as opposed to laboriously dissecting notes on paper long after the vibrations of sound have died away. Not surprisingly (given the shared principals of Joan’s teaching and Walden’s approach), one of Joan’s music teachers was Grace Newsom Cushman, who developed the musicianship course and founded the Junior Conservatory, which became Walden in the early 1970s.

During my many years on faculty at Walden (if you count my years as a student, I have been a part of this school’s community for over twenty-five years), I have enjoyed continuous mentorship in teaching pedagogy from, among others, Leo Wanenchak, Pam Quist and Pat Plude, master teachers with over twenty-five years experience. And my teachers and Eastman, Yale and since have further deepened my life, a rich fabric of experiences woven all through with music. I am grateful to all my teachers–-for their wisdom over the years–-and most of all to my students, who inspire me daily.

If you are interested in private/group musicianship and/or composition lessons, please contact me.

Photo by Marshall Bessières