The Teaching Portfolio: a Socratic Exercise

Teaching Perspectives 20 (Spring 2014)


Formal Conflicts and Metaphor in Scriabin's Op. 22, No. 3

Poundie Burstein, Lynne Rogers, Karen M. Bottge (eds.). Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium, Volume 2. 2013.

Inscribed within the tonal language, Scriabin’s early compositional style features interesting conflicts between harmony, voice leading and phrase rhythm. Separate layers of structure are occasionally out-of-phase with one another, but remain unified through hidden parallelisms and motivic linkages. These formal conflicts project metaphor and allusion.


Music: Discovering Meaning, Awakening Emotion

Canadian Music Teacher Magazine, Summer 2013


To Be (Talented), or Not To Be: Is That the Question?

Canadian Music Teacher Magazine, Spring 2013 - English Version - Japanese Version - Korean Version


Teaching as Structured Improvisation

Association of Atlantic Universities Teaching Showcase, UNB, Fredericton, October 2012



The Teaching Human

Teaching Perspectives 17 (Fall 2012)


How Register Tells the Story in Scriabin’s Op. 22, No. 2

Music Theory Online 17/2 (July 2011) - Pdf version


Why Does Wall-E Listen to Broadway Musicals?

Wall-E” (Pixar, 2008) starts with Jerry Herman’s “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” from the musical “Hello Dolly.” As we hear the fanfare-like, initial chord of the song, the black screen lights up with a view of the stars in outer space: “Out there, there is a world outside of Yonkers….” The audience does not know it yet, but this initial hit point, and this song, offer a window to Wall-E’s aspirations and dreams. In: Across Cultures: A Reader for Writers, 8th Edition. Eds. Sheena Gillespie and Robert Becker. New York: Longman, 2010. Available through


Music: Embracing the Sensory Pleasure, Unveling the Narration

Narrative Matters: May 20-22, 2010 , Fredericton, New Brunswick.


Music is My Father's Last Link to the World

The Globe and Mail, January 6, 2010.


Address for the 2009 Summer Convocation

St. Thomas University, July 2009. Full text.


Transforming the College Classroom

Martín Kutnowski develops theidea of the inner and outer circle of apprentices where all participate, according to their levels and skills, an idea based on that of medieval apprenticeship in guilds (Roger Moore).Teaching Perspectives 11(Winter 2009).


Trope and Irony in the Simpsons’ Overture

Using the initial sequence of "The Simpson"s as a case study, this article analyzes the role of television music in the construction of the medium’s total audiovisual message. The one-minute opening, a luscious symphonic overture complete with sound effects, introduces the five family characters plus the small-town suburban culture that surrounds them. Inscribed within Hollywood’s cinematographic language, the music is a powerful generic marker often projecting absurdity and irony. Notwithstanding the pantomimic effect, these comedic contradictions address the dysfunctional life of the Simpsons, defining the American Dream in ways distinct from other TV shows from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Read at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State. New York, April 2007. Popular Music and Society 31/5 (December 2008).


Relevance of the Current Curriculum: Teaching 'The Simpsons' and 'Monsters, Inc.' alongside Beethoven and Wagner

Movie and TV music are generally marginalized with respect to the classical canon taught in music appreciation courses. In this lecture, I show that analyzing the sophisticated compositional techniques found in movie and television music helps students see why truly understanding music (and not just passively consuming it) is relevant in their everyday lives. TV Music allows me introduce complex notions that I subsequently apply to the analysis of the art music repertoire: phrase structure, key relationships, motivic development, among many others. Paper read at the CMS Fifty-First National Conference: “A Changing Profession in a Changing World.” Atlanta, GA, September 25-28, 2008.


Personal Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Perspectives 9 (Winter 2008).


'I wouldn't have nothing if I didn't have you'

A commentary on the educational value of visual and aural archetypes in Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." (2001). In: Across Cultures: A Reader for Writers, 7th edition. Eds. Sheena Gillespie and Robert Becker. New York: Longman, 2007. Available through


Dramatic Expression and Form in Mozart K. 282, First Movement

The score of Mozart’s Sonata in Eb, K. 282, does not allude to any explicit theatrical or programmatic content. But analysis of its melodic articulation, phrase structure, voice leading, and tonal rhythm suggests metaphorical connections with operatic subjects. Charles Rosen defines the relationship between aria and sonata in Mozart as “interplay between dramatic expression and abstract form,” a connection that goes back to an overall preoccupation with “expression” in the eighteenth-century. A hermeneutic interpretation can only go as far as the interpretation of a metaphor, but picturing the first movement of Mozart’s K. 282 as an imaginary operatic scene transforms our way to experience this sonata, both as performers and listeners. Fifth International Conference on Music Theory. Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. September 28–30, 2006.


Formal Conflicts and Metaphor in Scriabin's Op. 22

Inscribed within the tonal language, Scriabin’s early compositional style features interesting conflicts between harmony, voice leading and phrase rhythm. Separate layers of structure are occasionally out-of-phase with one another, but remain unified through hidden parallelisms and motivic linkages. These formal conflicts project metaphor and allusion. Fourth International Schenker Symposium, New York. March 2006.


Learning as a dissonant act

A true story illustrating some of the risks and rewards of bending the "contrapuntal rules" of student-teacher interaction. About Campus 10:3, September 2005.


From Regis Philbin to Donna Elvira: Using Mass Media as a Bridge to Mozart

In order to engage the kinds of non-Western undergraduate populations that are becoming predominant in American urban colleges, music appreciation surveys must expand their focus to areas beyond the standard literature and integrate its findings with those of other related disciplines. Only then the students can see the relevance of—and make a connection between—the class contents and their overall education. This presentation, integrating popular culture and standard repertoire in the music appreciation classroom, focuses on selected instances of the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?,” examining how music is used at different moments to enhance specific moods or emotional atmospheres. Looking at this contemporary show familiarizes the students with basic tools for music analysis, such as the ability to interpret tempo, melodic and rhythmic design, harmonic language, and motivic development. Once the students are equipped with this basic terminology, they are prepared to deeper experience, and better understand, an aria from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”  Seventh Presidential Lecture Series at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York.


From Folk Song to Art Music: Deconstructing the Metamorphosis

Presented as part of the interdisciplinary symposium "The Status of the Document in the Digital Age: A Multidisciplinary Approach." ED-MEDIA 2005 - World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications. Co-presented with Lori Anderson-Moseman, Megan Elias, Belle Gironda, and Ken Golden. Montreal, Canada, June 2005. Published in the proceedings of the conference.


This is why we teach: Igniting a passion for learning in linked courses

Rote teaching and learning have their place, but not in a music course and an art and design course in which two dozen students at Queensborough Community College enrolled together. Through a shared theme, shared assignments, and a shared commitment to making the content relevant and the process active and engaging, two instructors fashioned a powerful environment for learning. Available for download at:


Dementia within Formal Organization in Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King

This paper searches for consistent principles of formal organization in Peter Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King. The study addresses first the musical-theatrical frame created by the composer and the words provided by Randolph Stow; later, it proceeds to examine the relation of those two components to other aspects of the musical structure. Presented at the 33rd. Annual Meeting of the Music Theory Society of New York State. Baruch College, CUNY. New York, NY, 9–10 April 2005. Published in ex-tempore, Journal of Compositional and Theoretical Research in Music XII/1. Spring/Summer 2004.


Watching With Your Ears, Listening With Your Eyes: Layered Semantics in Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis

How can music appreciation & digital art and design be integrated into a learning community? How can one engage a multicultural student population? This is a hands-on forum for teachers of the humanities who are interested in active learning and interdisciplinary ways of knowing. Basic principles of aural and visual designed are explored by analyzing and reinventing a segment of a contemporary anime remake of the silent classic, “Metropolis.” Participants have an opportunity to think about script, screen image, and soundtrack; identifying how music (tempo, dynamics, texture, harmony, instrumentation) and image (line, form, color, light) communicate information and help set the tone and mood in film.

Forum lead with Ken Golden and Sarah Standing at the League for Innovation Conference, New York, March 2005.


La Femme Fatale in Queens Boulevard

Paper read at a CUNY Junior Faculty Research Colloquium in Queens College, November 2004.


The Obsolete Classroom

Paper read at QCC's Second College Conference. November 2004


Towards a Community of Practice

Co-authored with Dr. Eduardo Marti, President of Queensborough Community College, and Professor Peter Gray, of the English Department at Queensborough Community College. Published in the Community College Journal. Available for download at:


Instrumental Rubato and Phrase Structure in Astor Piazzolla's Music

Piazzolla’s Tango Nuevo departed from traditional tango in many ways, for instance by featuring new, more aggressive rhythmic gestures. The new style also featured a more sophisticated phrase-structure, independent from the dance or the words. Both aspects of the change, intrinsically related to each other, were in fact rooted in the performance practice of singers (Gardel among them) of the "old style" tango. This paper was presented in the Seminar Tango, Bandoneón, Piazzolla, organized by the Music Department of the Graduate School and University Center of City University of New York in march of 2000. Click here to see pictures and read more about that event . Published in Latin American Music Review, Spring/Summer 2002, 23:1.


Componer música es un trabajo de taller

("Composing is a workshop"); interview with Mark-Anthony Turnage. For Revista Clásica, Buenos Aires, April of 1999.


La música es la arquitectura del tiempo

("Music is architecture in time"); interview with John Corigliano. For Revista Clásica, Buenos Aires, February of 1999.


Aspen y el Ensemble de Música Contemporánea

("Aspen Contemporary Ensemble"); interview with Gorge Tsontakis. For Revista Clásica, Buenos Aires, December of 1998.


Sonidos de las Américas: Argentina

("Sounds of the Americas: Argentina"); interview with Tania León. For Revista Clásica, Buenos Aires, July of 1998.


¿De dónde viene la música?

("Where is the music coming from?"); interview with George Perle. For Revista Clásica, Buenos Aires, February of 1998.



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