Teaching

Dedicated to education as an anchor for creativity and knowledge, I have taught for over 12 years, with a focus on deep listening, entrepreneurship, music composition and theory, social history, performing arts, and justice.

Music and Social Protest class photo

Since 2016, I have been an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco, where I teach in the Honors College and the Performing Arts Department. Previously, I taught at Cornish College of the Arts, where I taught in the Dance, Humanities and Sciences, and Music Departments. At UCLA, I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Department of World Arts and Cultures.

Examples of courses developed and taught:

Composition Lessons

Composition Lessons prepare students who write original music to extend their knowledge and practice of composing. Students will work on their own music, informed by exercises on musical form, notation, instrumental and vocal techniques, and analysis of similar works. The process of music composition from conceptual sketches to score preparation and program notes will be covered as well. In addition, using music notation software, rehearsing newly composed work, producing music, copyright, distribution, recording, and other music business logistics may be covered according to student interests. Along with weekly private lessons, field trips to concerts, new music meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area, and participation in master classes and recitals provides exposure to and networking in the music field.

Creating Soundscapes

Creating Soundscapes introduces the vocabulary and creative methodologies of acoustic ecology. This includes the study and production of audio where sounds modify and are modified by the environment. Students will assess existing natural and digital soundscapes, as well as create their own through deep listening and working with technology to process sound. The course culminates with students creating sound art prompted by and for specific locations.

Gun Violence, Music and Youth (co-taught with Erin Grinshteyn)

Every day more than 100 people die and countless others are injured from gun violence in the United States. The effects extend far beyond those directly affected by these incidents. Violence, along with associated topics such as civil liberties, gun control, the second amendment, and loss, have both divided and brought together families and communities. Music has both been blamed for and written as a response to gun violence. This practice-based course applies a public health lens alongside music analysis to learn how creativity critically engages with real-world topics. Assignments include analytical, artistic, interpretive, and research projects in multiple modes.

Introduction to Performing Arts and Social Justice

Around the world, artists engage with complex issues to strengthen communities and promote change. Intro to PASJ uses an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach to survey the dynamic and effective strategies of performing artists engaged in social justice work. The course investigates topics such as systemic violence, power, and privilege, alongside community building, risk-taking, and commitment. This thematic survey relates to the expertise of PASJ faculty, contemporary artists around the world, and projects that you and your classmates contribute. Throughout the semester, creative responses, presentations, videos, fact sheets, timelines, and performative experiments are made. These resources form an artistic response toolkit. Together, we will search for and analyze artistic work from multiple perspectives to gather materials essential for performing artists who use their skills for social justice causes.

Music and Social Protest

Music and Social Protest is an action-oriented survey course that investigates various strategies of music and activist organizing from around the world. The majority of the course focuses on how music intersects with political and social change through readings and resources, such as sheet music and videos. We will study Freedom Songs used in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, Struggle Songs used in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, music of the Nueva Canción Movement in Latin America, Okinawan Eisa in Japan, hip-hop organizing, labor movement music, Riot Grrrls, and other music making to understand how sound and performance empowers people in the fight for justice.

Music for Theater

Music for Theater provides hands-on training to design and create sound for theatrical performances. Sound plays a critical role in theatrical productions. Music can cause audiences to feel or move a certain way. It can direct or distract attention from dramatic moments. Atmosphere, character, location, mood, style, time period, and cultural context can all be conveyed through auditory information. This lab course emphasizes applied learning through music theater research and interdisciplinary collaboration. Required readings cover ritual, incidental music, songs within plays, and sound design. Assignments include creating audio for dramatic scenes, then revising your music based on production needs. Upon successful completion of Music for Theater, students will have a portfolio of audio and scores.

Producing Concerts

This course focuses on the artistry and logistics of managing and producing live music to create social impact. Gain hands-on skills while learning how to produce and promote musical events from concept to performance. This includes programming, community engagement, curating talent, venue selection, fundraising, strategic communications, marketing, and documentation. Assignments and guest speakers in Producing Concerts are relevant for students interested in arts management, event planning, and managing meaningful projects that feature music, including your own.

Unruly Rhythms

Unruly Rhythms is a hands-on theory course focused on rhythm. This includes an introduction to a wide range of sources from the rhythmic complexity of the Ars Subilitor in the 14th century to the nested rhythms of the New Complexity in the 20th/21st century. Electronic music, groove, hip hop, rock and roll, unmeasured preludes, and other ways to think about rhythm will also be studied to expand ideas about musical time for composing and performing. Rhythmic concepts such as subdivisions of the beat, irregular and changing meters, polyrhythms and polymeters will help develop advanced rhythmic skills and a rich rhythmic vocabulary essential for contemporary musicians.

Workshop in Music Production

This studio course is designed to help students develop creative and technical skills necessary to prepare for the Music Showcase. Course work includes learning how to perform, produce, and promote music events from concept to performance. Rehearsals emphasize learning by doing, observing, and providing peer-to-peer feedback, under the direction and supervision of the instructor. Through focused attention to music performance, this course supports the goal of the Performing Arts Department for all students to gain a solid foundation in the technical and conceptual skills of their craft while developing individual and collaborative approaches to the artistic process.

Recent Lectures and Workshops:

2020
Activist Songbook, International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Music in the Time of Social Distance, USF Center for Teaching Excellence
Moving Activist Songbook Online, Stanford ITALIC, taught by Ryan Tacata
Sanctuary and Immigration, USF Honors Forum, taught by Erin Brigham and Evelyn Ho
Writing Musical Theater, USF College Players

2019
9Lifeboats, USF Music Appreciation, taught by Alexandra Amati
Beyond the Practice Room: Strategies for Musicians, Mallarmé Chamber Players
Creating Infrastructure for Resistance through Music, AAAS Conference
Moving Arts Online, USF Instructional Technology and Training

2018
Art Business Management, Creative Capital Workshop, Kresge Foundation
Artistic Practice Toward Urban Resilience, Exploratorium
Artists Respond to Climate Change, Exploratorium


Contact me to work with a composer and educator who values collaboration and community-engaged participatory research.