University of the Arts Music faculty, 2010  

Pass it along...

It seems like I've always taught. I started teaching private piano and theory lessons right out of college. I found out quickly that I wasn't a teacher of beginners or young children. I could make the biggest difference to someone who already had the bug and was dying to get better on their instrument. Trying to excite a kid struggling with Mel Bay book 3 was as painful for me as for them, so I concentrated on the more experienced student, the ones prepping for college, or who are playing in bands and aren't sure how to comp chord charts, or who bought a Chapman Stick after noodling on guitar and are a little overwhelmed, etc. I've taught private lessons in piano, electronic music production, arranging, composition, guitar and Chapman Stick and really believe in not being didactic or going down the same academic path for every student. I really try to listen to what my students want and find ways to fool them into learning it; I usually wind up learning something myself.

Although my teaching days are over, I'm grateful to have spent so many years influencing younger players. When I go out and hear them playing in their own ensembles, and when I work with them professionally I have to confess to feeling a little proud to have helped them become the great musicians they are.

University of the Arts School of Music

In the summer of 1991 Marc Dicciani asked me if I wanted to teach in the School of Music here. He had just become the Director of the school after playing drums and conducting for Ben Vareen and heading the house band at Caesar's, where I was playing with him. He raided the talent pool of Atlantic City and Philadelphia and assembled a group of the best all-around players in the Tri-state area. I always loved going to work here just knowing it would be an interesting day with some of the best musicians I'll ever know.

Here's some samples of my work at the school over the last ten years.

  • Teaching résumé - here's a comprehensive list of the various things I did at the school.
  • Intro to MIDI syllabus - this is a typical syllabus of a class I taught in electronic music.
  • Charles Mingus Tribute Ensemble syllabus - if you joined my Mingus Tribute small group, this is what you'd expect.
  • Touch Guitar Curriculum - I put this course path together for anyone interested in pursuing a touch guitar/ Chapman Stick major at the school.

  • Audio: Mingus Group
    click to play
    Here's a sonic example of the 2004-2005 edition of the Charles Mingus Group digging into "Meditations on Integration" at their spring concert. This was one of those groups that stand out for their willingness to stretch as far as possible, always a necessity for playing Mingus's music.
    • Ken Pendergast: acoustic bass
    • Phil Pardell: drums
    • Steve Sacavage: baritone sax
    • Anthony D’Amore: alto sax
    • Wilhelm Ecchevarria: trumpet and vocal
    • Dave Hartl: piano
  • Audio: Prog Rock Group
    click to play
    Here's a sonic example of the 2009-2010 edition of the Prog Rock Group digging into Genesis's "Dance On a Volcano" at their winter concert.
    • Tom Scott: vocals
    • Andrew Hink: keys
    • Nick Deacon: guitar
    • Lewis D'Avonzo: bass
    • Jordan Crouse: drums

Updated January 11, 2024.

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