Do you really look like that?
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Davy's lexicon
Brandeis page
David Rakowski

Teaching history
BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY. Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition, 2005-current; Professor of Composition, 2001-5; Associate Professor of Composition, 1998-2001; Assistant Professor of Composition, 1995-1998. Music Department Chair, 2004-5. Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer '69 and Joseph Neubauer Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, 2009. Graduate seminars and private lessons in composition, first and second year undergraduate theory classes, Intro to Composition for undergraduates, Fundamentals of Music, Orchestration, independent studies in serious, jazz, popular, and theater composition, in orchestration, in ethnomusicology, and in notation for undergraduates, independent studies in analysis, orchestration, acoustics, and notation with graduate students, director of Brandeis Contemporary Chamber Players, Freshman Advisor, Head of Undergraduate Advising for Music Department. Advisor for numerous dissertations. Various university committees. On leave in Rome first year of appointment.

NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY. Adjunct faculty, 2004-5, 2007-8. Part-time appointments teaching private composition to two composers (04-05) or three composers (07-08).

HARVARD UNIVERSITY. Visiting Associate Professor of Music, fall 1998 and spring 2001; half-time appointments teaching Music 157x, Tonal Analysis, in Fall, 1998 and Music 5, Intermediate Composition, in Spring, 2001.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. Associate Professor of Music (untenured) 1993-1995; Assistant Professor of Music, 1989-1993. Director of Undergraduate Composition. Private composition and composition seminar for M.A. students; Graduate seminar in 20th Century Styles & Techniques; Music Since 1945; Introduction to Composition for undergraduates; Music Humanities (music appreciation); undergraduate harmony and counterpoint courses; private composition to undergraduates; designed and initiated notation course for undergraduate composers; various and numerous examination and dissertation committees both as sponsor and as second reader.

STANFORD UNIVERSITY. Lecturer in Music Theory, 1988-89. First and fourth quarter undergraduate harmony/ counterpoint classes; Graduate seminar in 20th-century analysis; Course in chromatic tonal composition and analysis for undergraduate majors; introduction to 20th century composition for undergraduates. Private composition lessons to five undergraduates. Directed Alea II, the Ensemble for New Music (programming, rehearsing three concerts).

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. Graduate Teaching Assistant. Ear training for second year theory course, 1981. Teaching assistant for computer music course under Paul Lansky, 1981-84, including writing programs, regular tutoring sessions, and helping put together printed documentation for the synthesis software used in the course, and stuff.

NEW MUSIC ON THE POINT Composition faculty (two weeks) 2011. Two lessons each to twelve and a half composers (one was a double fellow in violin) aged 20 to 26, coach singers, attend vocal rehearsals.

BOWDOIN SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL. Composer-in-residence (six weeks), summer 1999. Weekly private lessons and seminars to twelve students aged 20 to 35.
Bachelor of Music With Honors and Distinction, 1980

Master of Fine Arts, 1982
Doctor of Philosophy, 1996
Major Teachers
Robert Ceely, John Heiss (composition)
John Coffey, Randall Wheeler (trombone)

Milton Babbitt, Peter Westergaard, Paul Lansky

Luciano Berio
Call me Martler
Dear Mummy
Scool papers
My counterpoint supplements (PDF)
Right-click (Win) or option-click (Mac) to download to your computer.
Complete handouts
Our House
Beff - UMaine
More particulars on teaching
Stanford University (1988-89)
MUS 21, 24: First and fourth quarters of a 4-quarter sequence (too short!) in tonal theory. Textbook: Aldwell/Schachter.
MUS 121, 123 more advanced electives for majors who have completed the theory sequence: 121 was tonal composition, with exercises followed by the composition of art songs and sonata expositions that modulate to remote keys. 123 was a course in 20th century composition; they composed in scales, with chords, with motives, and wrote a final project.
GRAD SEMINAR: graduate seminar in 20th century music: Debussy, Ravel, Berg, Boulez, Davidovsky, Bartok, Stravinsky. In this seminar I talked for 2-1/2 hours and students stared wide-eyed. No composition majors were in this class.
INDEPENDENT STUDIES: I offered independent studies in composition to several undergraduates, among them Martha Horst, Sean Varah, Phil Ewell, and Carolyn Shapiro. Sean introduced me to the concept of a "bicycle tune."
ALEA II: I was nominally in charge of the new music ensemble, which had a budget of $300 per concert. Chris Lanz did the major share of the work getting the concerts together, but I wrote the program notes and produced the programs. I wrote very accurate notes about a piece I'd never heard, which just goes to show you.
Columbia University (1989-95)
FIRST YEAR COMPOSITION: I taught this course three of the years I was there. Except for the first year I taught it, it was a full-year course with a T.A. who met the students in small groups (Jim Carr, Sandra Sprecher--they were both fantastic). I started them with the rhythm of poetry, moved on to rhythmic notation and added pitches, then introduced the standard battery of 20th century concepts with which to compose (scales, cells, sets, rhythmic motives, stark juxtapositions, etc.) and then moved on to simple forms, starting with Debussy's "Syrinx" as a model. In the second semester I took the more advanced students privately instead of the TA. Most illustrious students: Jefferson Friedman, Alison Gardy, Linda Matos, Damon Ferrante, Adam Nelson.
COUNTERPOINT: Taught this three times. Went through all species and then free writing in two parts, with an imitative motet as the final project, which we recorded. We tried to stay close to the style of Palestrina, as this course was not connected to a harmony course.
MUSIC HUMANITIES: Music Appreciation, part of the Columbia core. I taught it five times, and loved every single minute of it. I especially loved introducing the Rite of Spring by having half the class count ONE two three four ONE two three four while the other half counted the syncopations of the usual part.
FIRST YEAR THEORY SECOND SEMESTER: Took over for Jeff Nichols, who had a leave. Text: Aldwell/Schachter. Finished with diatonic harmony and common-chord modulations. Students composed a minuet with trio for final project, and a quartet of students came in to read the final minuets.
TWENTIETH CENTURY STYLES AND TECHNIQUES/MUSIC SINCE 1945: this was a "swing course," designed by brilliant administrators as a way of getting two courses that only counted as one against a teaching load. Graduate students met in one two-hour session per week, and undergrads met for that two-hour session plus another hour for additional "concepts." In the two-hour session I did heavy analysis of heavy music since 1900, and in the hour-long session I pretty much did an entirely different course: a thorough analysis of Stravinsky's AGON.
GRADUATE STUDENTS IN COMPOSITION: I gave private lessons to first and second year graduate students in three of the years I was there, and occasionally met the students as a group for pertinent musical discussions. My students included Jason Uechi, Sean Varah, Julie Harting, Renee Coulombe, Paul Nauert, Izumi Kuremoto, and Arun Konanur.
INDEPENDENT STUDIES: on occasion, I was called on to do an independent study with a student, either because the student had a conflict with a class I was teaching, or because (in the case of Dalit Warshaw) a student was already too advanced for the standard undergraduate composition class.
Harvard University (1998, 2001)
MUSIC 157x: advanced undergraduate course in tonal analysis -- 3 students! I gave a 2-hour lecture weekly and the TF met them another hour. Pieces included Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, Haydn, Schumann, and Schubert. TA: Peter Whincop.
MUSIC 5: an intermediate course in composition for non-majors -- 6 students. A string quartet was available for readings twice, so their first two assignments were variations for string quartet and another assignment that I forgot. The course began by considering beginnings of some pieces and the students were assigned to continue them. From there we considered scales and forms and looked at a lot of music. Final projects were for oboe, piano, cello and percussion, which I conducted and which were recorded. TA: Elliott Gyger.
New England Conservatory (2004-5, 2007-8)
Private composition study with two undergraduates in 2004-5 (Mary Sutton and Nathan Shields) an hour each weekly. Three private students in 2007-8 (Miriam Piilonen, Travis Alford, and Jeff Collazo).
Brandeis University (1995-current)
First year of appointment: I was in Rome with a Rome Prize, during which time I defended my dissertation.
MUSIC 5, Fundamentals of Music, twice. A large class evenly divided between somewhat experienced musicians and those with no experience. Taught notation, triads, seventh chords, and lead sheet realizations.
MUSIC 101 First year theory, about eight times. Texts: Gradus, Aldwell/Schachter, Kostka/Payne (none of them are that good, but Kostka/Payne is the least bad). Full-year course in tonal harmony and species counterpoint getting up to simple modulations, simple forms, and study of minuets from Haydn's string quartets. Final project: composition of a minuet and trio for string quartet, normally read by the Lydian Quartet and recorded.
MUSIC 103 Second year theory, now four times. Text: Kostka/Payne (first semester only). I did fairly detailed analysis of a few pieces in the first term, while I also introduced all the chromatic chords and assigned workbook exercises. There were 26 assignments in the first semester alone. Deep analysis was of Agnus Dei from b minor mass, slow movement of K. 488, several songs from Dichterliebe, Erlkonig, and the first movement of the Waldstein. In second semester, there were three composition projects: variations, art song, and sonata exposition or free composition. No textbook, just lots of music studied. A bit of an introduction to post-tonal syntax. Two analytical papers were also required.
MUSIC 106, four times. Undergraduate composition. Essentially the first semester of my Columbia course, always with a TA to meet in small groups. TAs: Laurie San Martin, Steve Weigt, Derek Hurst, John Aylward.
MUSIC 193 Orchestration and Instrumentation, twice. An orchestration course I designed, initiated, and taught as an overload the first time. The class's success was due in large part to an extra hour in small groups with the T.As: Rick Beaudoin and Yohanan Chendler.
MUSIC 227a, once. Graduate course in composing in tonal forms. Mozart and Haydn were the models.
MUSIC 227b, once. Graduate course in notation and orchestration. Much arranging of piano music for various groups within the orchestra.
MUSIC 292, ten times. Graduate seminars in composition -- private lessons for graduate students in composition. For a while I also met all my students occasionally in a group, but the sniping and ad hominems got tedious.
MUSIC 98 Independent studies. I have done about 50 of them, so I don't remember them all. Subjects have included: private composition lessons; introduction to jazz composition; composing theater music in older styles (Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, etc.); distinctions between opera and musical theater; the ethnomusicology of Ghanaian drumming; composing with materials from Ghanaian music; orchestration; improvisational styles; twentieth century music history (substituting for a required course where the student had a schedule conflict); the history of the oboe; the history of oboe music; music criticism.
MUSIC 99 Senior Honors Thesis. Year-long course that has to be approved by the department. Composition of popular songs and performance of them; composition of a song cycle with trio; composition of a whodunit musical.
MUSIC 299 Graduate Independent Studies. I've done about 18 of them. Topic have included advanced analysis of particular favorites of the students, tonal analysis, writing about tonal analysis (for students who failed their generals), advanced studies in acoustics, Berio's SINFONIA, a study of Berg's LULU, Webern orchestrations, and a transcription for four cellos of an entire album of pop music.
BCCP: for four years I was in charge of the Brandeis Contemporary Chamber Players, until the money ran out (more like crashed and burned). The concerts I programmed included a "welcome to Brandeis" concert for me (I arrived and was told to "make it so"), solo recitals by Marilyn Nonken and Geoffrey Burleson, a duo concert by Judy Bettina and Jim Goldsworthy, an 85th birthday concert for Arthur Berger, and an 80th birthday concert for Harold Shapero.
Princeton University (1981-84)
I was the ear-training TA for second year theory in fall 1982 and I was a disaster (of my evaluations, half were 1 of 5, half were 5 of 5). Since I had passed out of 2 years of ear training at NEC, I had never witnessed it being taught, so there was no method to my madness. For one semester per year of 1981-1984 I was Paul Lansky's teaching assistant for the computer music course, which involved a lot of time in the Computer Center at timesharing terminals working with students, bringing their sound tapes to be converted and recorded onto cassette, and formatting the documentation for the software. I also did a bunch of programming in EXEC and EXEC2 to automate various parts of the many steps it took to get digital sound out in those days. The software used was MUSIC 4BF and some various extensions to it written by Paul Lansky and Jeff Risberg.
Other notable employment experience
1985-88 Word processor (part time) Black Achievers, Boston YMCA.
1985-88 Word processor (part time) Development Office, Boston YWCA.
1984-85 Word processor (full time) Test Center Administration, Educational Testing Service.
1984 Data entry (full time) Test of English as a Foreign Language, Educational Testing Service.
1980 Desktop publishing (full time consultant, summer) Cahners Publishing, Newton, Mass.
1978-80 Music library (part time work study and full time summers) New England Conservatory.

1977-79 "Security" (work study) New England Conservatory.
1977, 1978 (summers) Security guard (full time) Management Safeguards Inc., Boston.
1976 (summer) Milkshake maker and cleanup guy (full time) Warner's Snack Bar, St. Albans, Vermont
Why I love Academia, Chapter XXIV
The Interval Song (to the tune of Mel Torme's "Christmas Song")
Octaves roasting on an open fire,
Major sixths nipping at your nose,
Major seconds being sung by a choir,
Chromatic alterations of the scale.

Diatonic scale.
A turkey and some mistletoe
Major sixths make the season bright.
Major seconds with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

There's minor sevenths on their way.
They've loaded lots of minor seconds on their sleigh.
And every minor sixth will want to spy
To see the supertonic prolonged over five.

And octave offering this simple phrase
To major sixths one to ninety-two.
Although it's been said many times, many ways,
Meet the Flintstones. To you.
Thanks to Hayes Biggs for the "minor seconds"
Other private teaching
Two students studied with me privately when they were of high school age: Nico Muhly and Bronika Kushkuley. Both were very advanced, and teaching them was fun and exhilarating. I also taught Winton Reynolds when I was in California. I don't do private teaching outside of Brandeis any more.