I help band, chorus, and orchestra directors use Blended Learning and Hybrid Learning techniques to turn their music students into life-long music makers
I've been pioneering live music teaching techniques using the internet since 2008. I write and arrange my own music, record my own studio audio, teach private and group lessons online, rehearse and perform with my student ensembles, and teach instrumental music, electronic music, and jazz improvisation both in person and virtually.
My students graduate from my program capable of the following at a minimum:
Performing independently and proficiently on their primary instrument or voice
Sight reading music literature up to Grade 3
Transcribing and arranging existing music for duets, trio, and quartets of their primary instrument
Composing original music in a 32-bar format
Improvising over the blues and simple jazz standards
Making a clean recording of their own performance from their home, then editing it using DAW software
I would love the opportunity to help you empower your band, orchestra, and choral students to do the same.
BLENDED LEARNING CAN BE OVERWHELMING
(but not if you start with what you already know)
I invite all middle school and high school band, chorus, and orchestra directors interested in enhancing their curriculum with internet-based instruction to take my Blended Learning Challenge. Come up with a plan to add one new blended learning element to your school year, share it with me, and let me help you gather the resources you need, publish your content, and engage your students.
Careers In Music
I have helped students in my program earn major scholarships and awards to attend all of these respected higher education music programs to major in music performance, composition, production, business, therapy, and education.
BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
FROST SCHOOL OF MUSIC
SCHOOL OF MUSIC, THEATRE & DANCE
THE NEW SCHOOL
UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS
BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE
WELLS SCHOOL OF MUSIC
TELL SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Midnight Music Technology Training
Tom and I first "met" on Twitter around 12 years ago while discussing music technology in education topics. Tom was utilising technology like Skype to teach students who were located in other countries and that was quite innovative (and surprising!) at the time. He was an early pioneer in online music teaching and has truly perfected the art of teaching with a blended learning model with his private students and music ensembles. Tom has been truly innovative in this area. Tom has an enviable set of skills that EVERY music teacher who has worked through 2020-2021 wishes they had.
MODERNIZING THE TRADITION
Parents, students, and the community understand the value of music education in large ensemble settings like concert and marching band, orchestra, and chorus. Ensemble music performance provides many benefits to students, but what it doesn't do for the vast majority of students is give them the knowledge and skills to continue making music after high school or their college undergrad.
Ask yourself the following questions...
Your students are proficient ensemble performers who can sight read and rehearse well, but do your students stop playing their instruments or stop singing in a choir after they leave your program?
Your students can play scales and sing solfege, but can they create their own melodies, build their own chord progressions, and write music to play themselves or with friends?
Your students love being in your ensemble, but do they know how to find music that inspires them and produce their own solo and ensemble recordings?
If the answers to these questions ranges from "no" to "somewhat" to "I wish they could," I would be honored if you would build a relationship with me to bring these musical skills to every student in your program without sacrificing the high quality of education they already receive as a large ensemble player.
Former Students Making Music Today
Assistant Orchestra Director at Spillane Middle School
I think Mr. West's biggest attribute is his ability to diversify learning. I remember doing many different types of projects in his class, such as small ensemble performances or writing compositions using online software; both of which forced me to pay more attention to the music as well as deepen my understanding of it. I highly recommend Mr. West to anyone who is ready to be challenged and pushed to learn new things.
Mr. West was my orchestra/music technology teacher while at CPFA for 3.5 years. Mr. West was my first introduction to music production and songwriting. His knowledge of mixing, recording techniques, and songwriting form were the reason I was able to advance further in my production courses in college and start my songwriting career! I highly recommend Tom to anyone who wants to start learning music theory, music production, or recording techniques!
Student/drummer at Berklee College of Music, studying composition & jazz
Tom was my teacher/band director at the Center for Performing & Fine Arts for 3 years when I was in high school. Tom has always been a source of support & encouragement in my experiences with him, and has an expansive bank of knowledge in a myriad of different musical fields. His class in jazz studies helped me use melodic & rhythmic ideas in jazz standards to inform my improvisation, and opened a new door for me in terms of soloing. His arrangements compliment players of any style & any instrument, and are some of the most enjoyable charts I've played. The feedback I have received from Tom in classes was both encouraging and made me feel like I was on the right track, and pushed me to work harder to fulfill the potential I had. I highly recommend Tom to anyone who is looking to gain a foundational or advanced knowledge in jazz or chamber music, as well as the intricacies of playing instruments found in both genres. I owe a lot of my interest in jazz music and composition to him & his teaching.
Grocery Order Writer at Whole Foods Market
Tom was my band teacher for 7 years in middle school and high school including Digital Music Composition, Orchestra, and Jazz Band. I have learned about many facets of the art of music including lots of knowledge on composing, blended learning, and many of the aspects of the technical side of music along with being trained in the basics of music education. Tom was one of the most influential teachers of my high school years. He instilled so much confidence in me that helped me grow in my skill with my instrument and in everyday work. I could not recommend anyone more.
Putting my expertise to work for you
My passion as a Music Educator is teaching all of the aspects of music to students at the secondary level to help them not just be great large ensemble players, but to also be independent musicians capable of creating their own music for a lifetime. I am available to help scholastic band, chorus, and orchestra directors incorporate the latest technology, virtual music learning management systems, and live video conferencing (Zoom and others) to empower students to be well-rounded musicians.
Personalized Strategy & Skills
The first step for most teachers is to begin with a 1 on 1 consultation. We discuss your ensembles, classes, students, and goals. We develop a plan for implementing blended learning experiences into your school year, including a timeline and check-ins to assess effectiveness.
Individual or Group Skill Development
Online or in-person training sessions for blended learning tools and resources, including cloud-based learning management systems, music notation software, digital audio workstations, and live instruction via video conferencing.
In-Service Day presentations for your entire staff
I present regularly at state Music Educators Association in-service conferences, district in-service days, and music department meetings on a variety of topics in blended learning, hybrid learning, and live music instruction via video conferencing. Book me for your event before my calendar fills up for the school year.
FLEXIBLE ENSEMBLE COMPOSITION
Providing you with the specialized music you need
I specialize in arranging and composing music for flexible instrumentation ensembles of all kinds, including winds, strings, percussion ensemble, jazz band, contemporary a cappella, and barbershop harmony. Give your students repertoire that exercises their musical independence with a custom commission.
MUSIC RECORDING, EDITING, & MIXING
Saving you precious work time
I can help you with your individual student and ensemble studio recordings, from initial student recording setup in their homes to editing and mixing the tracks into a studio recording of your ensemble.
Meeting National and State Standards
I can work with your department to develop or modify your music curriculum to incorporate blended learning techniques into the National Core Arts Standards as well as your state standards.