Teaching EXPERIENCE

In addition to maintaining a private studio of piano students, Danny teaches masterclasses and workshops at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. He is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research at the Harvard-Westlake School, and from 2012-2018 was chair of the music program at The Academy of Creative Education at The Oakwood School.

From 2008-2014 Danny served on the faculty of The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts, where he has also taught in the School of Theater (2004-2006). He was formerly Senior Musician in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures, and he has also taught at College of the Desert, Norco College, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CalState University San Bernardino (Palm Desert campus).

Danny was formerly a graduate teaching assistant and tutor in music theory at California Institute of the Arts (2004-2006).  And as a Teaching Fellow in the Smith College music department (2002-2004), he directed the aural skills program and founded the Smith College Rhythm Ensemble.

Danny’s students have gone on to study at The Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Mannes School of Music, CalArts, University of Southern California, and others. They have attended summer programs at the University of Southern California, the Berklee College of Music, and the California State Summer School for the Arts.


RESEARCH INTERESTS

Danny always strives to find a healthy balance between performance, scholarship, and teaching. His research interests have not always been directly related to his performing career, however. His undergraduate thesis at Hampshire College was entitled Country Music and the Music Industry in Nashville, Tennessee: The Confused Identity of a Genre in a Culture of Commerce. His Masters thesis at Smith College, Making Country Music “Country”: Technology, Authenticity, and Nashville Sounds, continued this research.

Other research interests include: the development of western tuning systems; power dynamics in cross-cultural musical exchanges between East and West; the relationship between performance context and cultural conceptions of music; the distinctions between “the work” “the score” and “the performance” in western classical art music and the development of the virtuoso performance tradition in 19th century Europe; performance practice in minimalist music; the Alexander Technique, T’ai Chi, quantum physics, and neuroscience as they relate to mindful, efficient, healthy practicing for musicians; Michael Jackson; Devo; Kraftwerk; and the life and work of innovative composer/pianist Mike Garson.


PEDAGOGY

Danny offers private instruction in piano, music theory/aural skills, and composition. Whether he’s teaching a piano lesson to a young beginner, an adult, or a college student; consulting with a pop music producer or singer-songwriter; or helping a high school student prepare for college auditions, Danny brings a sense of joy and playfulness to his teaching–helping his students build skills to succeed, no matter their age, ability level, or goals.

Here are some of the basic tenets of Danny’s teaching philosophy, in his own words:

  • Teach to the individual needs of each student – “When teaching, I often find that my students force me to think about music in new ways, and that is a genuine thrill! Fundamentally, I believe that learning is a highly personal, individualized process that must encourage students to ask questions, take risks, and (in group settings) to help and teach one another.”

  • Serious, but fun – “One of my strengths as an educator is my ability to always make learning fun, while keeping a serious focus both on the task at hand, and on his/her long-term goals.”

  • Fundamentals – “In my own creative work, I have been thinking ‘outside the box’ for many years. But my success in more experimental realms can be largely attributed to the solid foundation of skills and knowledge upon which my work has always been based. I strive to help my students build a solid grasp of those fundamentals.”

  • Loving the process of learning – “I teach my students about music, but more importantly I hope to foster a genuine love of learning–an understanding of the joy, the power, and the feeling of accomplishment and inspiration that comes from deeply engaging with a given idea, skill, or project.”

  • Experimentation – “Learning invariably involves trial-and-error, and I always encourage my students to take risks and learn to embrace the process of experimentation.”

  • Context – “My wide-ranging educational and professional background has given me a uniquely eclectic frame of reference for everything that I teach, and my students are routinely subjected to my excited digressions as I explain the bigger context of whatever we are learning…!”

  • Learn by doing – “I emphasize learning technique through playing repertoire, learning theory by studying and playing diverse musical examples, and developing strong reading/musicianship and practicing habits.”