As a creator and teacher, I will use my background as a composer to give my students the tools and skills needed to create, arrange, and improvise. A major part of my masters degree and graduate experience was centered around music theory pedagogy. During this time, I taught ear training, music theory, and composing to younger undergraduate students who had yet to develop that knowledge. In my ear training classes, I spent time focusing on instrument sounds and color, which is a non-traditional topic in this class. My advanced ear training classes had the opportunity to explore arranging by ear by using a lead sheet and a recording of their song of choice. They used their ears to break apart a score and rearrange the music for their assigned ensemble. Student feedback indicated they enjoyed this non-traditional experience and appreciated the introduction to arranging techniques. After teaching ear training classes at the University of Tennessee, I taught the Instrumentation and Arranging course during my return to Kansas State. This class focused on notation, arranging, and instruction on how to write for each instrument. Students in my class created several arrangements using the resources I provided and taught. In addition to my teaching experience in this topic, my masters thesis highlighted the arranging and composing techniques used to write music for students in band at the beginner and intermediate level. To complement my paper, I wrote three pieces at various performing levels to demonstrate my research.
Students will benefit from my teaching in this subject because I actively use this information and these skills in my professional life as a composer and teacher. In addition to the experience and skills listed above, I studied piano for fifteen years. The combination of my piano and music theory skills has given me the technique to improvise and use the piano to accompany my class. Students will also receive a comprehensive look into the creative process for each of these topics.