Teaching

Ash has experience as an educator in several disciplines. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant in music composition and theory at Florida State University (and previously, UNC-Greensboro), he has taught courses in Music Composition (introduction to composition, private lessons) and Music Theory (18th-Century Counterpoint, Theory I/II/III/IV, and Aural Skills I/II/III/IV). He also privately teaches composition and theory outside of school. During the summers, he serves as the Aquatics Director at Camp Raven Knob (Mt. Airy, NC), where he teaches courses in Lifeguarding, CPR, Swimming, and Canoeing in addition to training and managing a staff of about 20 lifeguards, swimming instructors, and boating instructors.

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A statement on my teaching philosophy:

There is a room in my childhood home whose walls are decorated with countless jigsaw puzzles that my family and I assembled over the years.  Even today, "puzzling" is one of my favorite ways to stimulate creativity: forcing myself to search for patterns between the pieces and invent new ways to sort, categorize, and utilize them. In a similar manner, I see music theory and composition as intertwined forces working together to assemble a (very) large jigsaw puzzle. This is no ordinary 1000-piece rectangular arrangement, mind you; our musical puzzle has many, many more pieces of all shapes and sizes.  It is borderless, multi-dimensional, comes with no guiding illustration or box, and contains several extraneous pieces intended to distract the puzzler.  How fascinating it is to explore the countless creative possibilities this puzzle presents to us!

When teaching, my primary goal is to foster this same passion for exploration and discovery in my students. Instead of focusing on what to think, we learn how to think, how to create, and how to communicate our findings with one another -- skills that will last far beyond any class, lesson, or semester. I find that communication is at the core of all artistic and academic work, and my sincere hope is that my students will be inspired to continually explore the puzzle of music not only in the classroom and concert hall but in their interactions with others and in their overall approach to life.