Before you decide that you want to study with me…
…be aware that there will be an advance fee. You should also know that my lessons are no substitute for university training, nor should I be approached as an alternative to your university composition teacher.
My lessons are limited to orchestration coaching. That is what I feel is worth paying for. I will coach orchestrators who are working on serious projects, such as:
- film scores
- commercial work
- works with an orchestral premiere or recording date planned
- works that have been assigned as part of a course (with your instructor’s approval)
- commissioned work
- composition contest entries (as long you accept that coaching won’t win the prize)
- scores as part of an application or as sample work
The types of projects I will not coach:
- your pet project that you’ve been working on for years (unless you’ve got a premiere)
- works for smaller instrumentation (like 1-5 players)
- works that are purely sequenced sound sets that have no score
- works that you’re composing just to prove some sort of point
Course of Study
My lessons work like this: a one-hour Skype lesson is scheduled every week to 10 days (or in person if you live in Wellington, New Zealand). A day or two before each lesson, you e-mail me a copy of your latest score as a PDF, MusicXML file, or Sibelius file. I spend some preparation time with your file, take extensive notes, and then during our Skype lesson, I give you a full consultation and analysis of your work to date.
I can come into a project near the end and act as a consultant for the final draft. Or I can work with you from the first sketches all the way through to part preparation.
I work my students very hard, so be prepared to spend a great deal of time on your score if I do accept you as a student. If I don’t accept you, please don’t take it personally. Most of the time, my decision not to accept a student is done out of concern for the student, to be fair to them at their current stage of development and condition of life, and not to just make money off them whether they’re ready or not for such training.
I’m usually terrifically busy on some project or other, so I have to prioritize my time so that teaching won’t interfere with upcoming deadlines. This means that my students have to be absolutely clear about what they want to achieve, dedicated to their progress, and consistent in their scheduling. That’s the first cost you should be considering before taking lessons – the personal cost. I’ll be giving you professional attention, and you must repay that with a professional commitment.
I don’t like to quote fees on a website. But I do get asked “What do you charge for lessons?” quite often, so I will save a little time here. I charge at least USD$100 per hourly Skype lesson, and I require a deposit of four lessons in advance. Be aware that if your project is unusually complex, requiring a great deal of preparation on my part for each lesson, then the fee might be higher. The same is true if you have a project where a lot is at stake financially and professionally, which also might increase the amount of teacher prep.
If you’re serious about your training, and find the above guidelines, procedures, and teaching philosophy acceptable, then please get in touch through the Contact Form on this website; or through regular channels if you’re already in touch with me on Facebook.