Edward Green Music
I have been a professor of composition at Manhattan School of Music since 1984. Yes--I've won many awards, here and overseas, for my music; and if you'd like to hear some of it, please visit my website:
At MSM, I've taught songwriting, film composition, composition for the musical theater, arranging, theory---and also many classes in music history. (My doctorate, actually, is in music history). And I've published on musical matters ranging from Duke Ellington to Mozart; from the film composer Bernard Herrmann to the microtonal modernist Scelsi.
My teaching stands out for having Aesthetic Realism as my basis---in particular, this great, technical, profound, exciting principle of Aesthetic Realism stated by Eli Siegel:
"All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves."
When I teach, I'm interested in bringing out a student's originality and encouraging artistic depth in that student. And depth comes, I think, from being inspired by greatness---and so, along with focusing (naturally enough) on your own work, we also study music by great composers in whatever field you want to work in. We could study Ellington; we could study Stravinsky; we could study Paul McCartney; we could study Richard Rodgers; we could study Beethoven.
And the list goes on. I make it a point, in other words, to consider what it is you most want to achieve, yourself, in your work, and then draw your attention to greatness in that field. And we will explore great work by others in a very deeply technical way---and look at your own work using exactly the same technical criteria, and high standards.
You don't get good at something without aiming high!
Well--pretty much everything! The chance to explore music together with a new student is always thrilling. I've never met an aspiring composer who didn't have something important he or she was trying to give shape to musically---and I see my job as encouraging that through in-depth technical education.
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
Looking closely at the work (whether complete or in process) which they bring in for the initial lesson, and then discussing together what aspects of musical composition they need to gain strength in, and then focusing on that, and giving assignments that are designed to bring forth that strength.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
My formal education was at Oberlin and NYU. (My doctorate is from NYU). My greatest education has been studying Aesthetic Realism, including in the years 1974-1978 with its founder, the great poet and philosopher of the arts, Eli Siegel.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
$150 per hour --- but a two hour lesson (which is what I think is best) is $250. And if we go a bit over 2 hours, I don't charge extra.
How did you get started teaching?
Many years back---as a teacher of piano and theory and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Then I taught for a while at Pace University and at the School of Visual Arts---mainly classes in Film Music and American Song. At that time, I had a few private composition students. But my major teaching of composition began when I was hired in 1984 as a professor at Manhattan School of Music.
What types of students have you worked with?
Largely young professionals in their 20s (undergraduate and graduate students at Manhattan School of Music), but I have also had private composition students ranging from talented teenagers to seasoned artists in their 50s.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I'll describe three: in October, 2016, I was in Portugal for two performances of my Trumpet Concerto. And in May, 2017, I gave two talks on the music of Duke Ellington at the University of Bologna. Then, third, in late May and early June of 2018, I was in Asuncion, Paraguay for the premiere of my Symphony in C---which won the international award for orchestral composition of their orchestra. (I also did a 2-week residency during that time, under the sponsorship of the Fulbright Foundation, at the national conservatory of Paraguay---teaching classs in composition and music history).
To me, all of these happenings were equally satisfying! Naturally, I love being at performances of my own music. But it moves me just as much to be a means of having the music of other composers truly appreciated. Especially when those composers are great, as Ellington is! (I am the Editor of The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington).
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Avoid people who promise quick results. Also avoid teachers who want to imitate their style of music. A true teacher wants you to find your own voice.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
Two questions in particular:
1) What vision do I have for myself as a composer? What is the kind of music I want most to write?
2) Where do I think I need the most criticism and encouragement to get there?