From the category archives:

Teaching music

Those who teach…

October 17, 2009

In an area known as “Music Education” which, for Schools, Conservatories, and Departments of Music means K through 12, there appears to be a national problem. Potentially gifted teachers may not always be the best performers: sometimes yes, sometimes no–and vice versa. So the question arises: if instrumental lessons are required of all future K-12 […]

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Coming out and its variants

October 13, 2009

[A commercial for my students.] This is National Coming Out Week, also known as LGBT Awareness Week. Coming out is short for coming out of the closet, meaning bringing out into the open something that has been hidden away. I encourage my students to be compassionate when a friend “comes out” to them–coming out is […]


Notating music by hand

October 8, 2009

This week I have been lecturing about the technique and rules regarding music notation. The angles, shading, background, lengths, proportions and stem direction. I explained the ever fascinating and source of the way music notation looks, the crow quill pen. Sadly, I had to emulate the flowing nature of that great pen with a magic […]


Planning a new approach

August 7, 2009

This week I had several meetings planning our new class for all incoming Music, World Music, and Music History students. It will be a one year class, team taught each quarter by three full professors: one composer (me, all three quarters), a musicologist, and an ethnomusicologist. Next quarter I will be teaching with Jihad Racy […]


The Entitled

June 5, 2009

Some of my colleagues were standing around grousing about something yesterday. I joined them and found them complaining about students. “I can’t believe that these kids have only come to 50% of my counterpoint class! BW just texts during class and it drivesme crazy. When I was in college, I NEVER missed classes.” Another joined […]


Loza blend

May 7, 2009

Today Prof Steve Loza visited our class to share is passion. Of Mexican heritage, he studied classical music in college, but wanted more and became profoundly curious to learn of his own heritage, and ultimately became an Ethnomusicologist, but keeping his feet in performing and composition. He spoke of the blend of indigenous, Spanish, and […]


After a week of crafting possible cuts to our department’s budget, I drove up to the beautiful Lake Arrowhead area to attend an annual meeting, whose sole purpose is to give seed money to innovative curricular ideas. We arrived on Friday night; had cocktails and a lovely dinner, followed by a short meeting, and then […]


Today I was invited to a graduate course in architecture taught by Visiting Professor, Benjamin Ball, of Ball Nogues Studio. Here is a sample of his work. He has a class of young architect grad students, working in teams, each pitching their vision of what the space will be. Casey Reas, the Chair of Design […]


We plowed through five decades of the three top selling singles — the last two decades got short shrift: no matter, they might as well have leapt to their feet singing along with Backstreet Boys or Kelly Clarkson. We went from old to new. Few had heard of Bobby Darin, or the genre “bubblegum.” I […]


It occurred to me to look back at the top selling singles from the past 60 years in increments of 10 years. I’ll bring this to my class and use these songs for analysis and discussion. Questions: why do you think this song was so popular? What is unique about this song? What is the […]

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