D’Arcy’s Teaching Experience
D’Arcy Reynolds teaches piano, composition, improvisation, and theory. Her private studio was founded in 1990, and she is on the piano faculty of Marin Country Day School, and has served on the faculty of the San Francisco School of the Arts, the San Francisco Community Music Center, and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. D’Arcy has had composer residencies in elementary, middle schools and high schools throughout Northern California. As the founding Director of the American Composers Forum’s San Francisco Chapter, she designed the Composer in the Schools program which ran in high schools in San Francisco and Berkeley for seventeen years.
Piano teaching methods
D’Arcy has a fun, yet rigorous approach to teaching piano to children and adults, emphasizing sight-reading, technique, keyboard harmony, improvisation, and a broad range of music that spans classical to popular genres. You will be able to learn the music that you love, and read music just like you might read a good novel!
For those interested in classical piano, we’ll emphasize sight-reading, technique, and learning repertoire from eras that you enjoy (the baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic, and contemporary periods). We’ll analyze the music, so you’ll understand the thematic development, harmony, and structure of each piece. This applied theory will help you to integrate your playing with your theoretical knowledge of music. Theory and technique, such as scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions will be combined with the repertoire.
If you like popular music, we’ll get started with keyboard harmony, combining theory and technique simultaneously. We’ll cover triads, 7th chords, chord extensions and inversions, and begin with improvisation in the first lesson. You’ll also learn to read chord charts and standard musical notation, as we’ll use popular music collections, lead sheets, and any music you’d like to bring to the lesson.
My unique approach to teaching helps to develop students’ self-confidence and sense of mastery as they explore their own creative essence through their unique musical expression. I also include Buddhist meditation techniques, somatic awareness, and creative inquiry in a very subtle and integrated way. This enriches and deepens students’ experience of music and their creative process. Students are warmly encouraged to improvise and compose, along with developing their pianistic abilities.
Private composition lessons and workshops
Composition students have enjoyed D’Arcy’s unique composition lessons and workshops for the past twenty years. Students learn basic notation skills, analysis, thematic development, harmonic options, rhythmic development, and structure. All musical styles are welcome, as students are encouraged to develop their own unique compositional style. Her basic composition workshop is 10 sessions. Students learn from each other, and begin to trust their inner-muse as they develop their musical voice. Further studies include twentieth century compositional techniques, orchestration, and composing chamber music for mixed ensembles.
It’s important for us to be sure that there is good synergy, and that my teaching methods are a good fit for you. Let’s plan the first lesson as an open dialogue about the process, your goals, and how we can work together to achieve them.
D’Arcy Reynolds, MA
Composer commissions and awards
Ms. Reynolds is an award-winning composer, pianist and music educator in based in Marin County. Her compositions are influenced by jazz, African, Cuban, Argentinian, and North Indian music, while being grounded in the traditional Classical forms. She toured South Africa with the Sontonga Quartet in 2005, and was featured in the DVD ‘Inner Landscape’ filmed in Nieu Bethesda, South Africa at Helene Martin’s Owl House.
She has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Noe Valley Chamber Music, Adesso, and Tessa Brinckman & the East/West Continuo, and has received grants and awards from the ASCAP, USIA, the American Music Center, and Meet the Composer. Her CD the Past Keeps Changing was awarded the Music Now Recording Grant in 2000.
Numerous ensembles, including the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Ariel String Quartet, Chamberlain String Quartet, Adesso, and New Music Works have performed her chamber music. Her work has been represented at several new music festivals, including the Festival of New American Music at California State University at Sacramento, the Nevada County Composers’ Coalition New Music Festivals, Derriere Guard Festival, and Music in the Mountains in Nevada City.
Reynolds earned a B.A. in piano performance with honors and an M.A. in musical composition from Mills College. She studied piano with Bernhard Abramowitch, Paul Hersh, and Katrina Krimsky, and composition with Terry Riley, Charles Shere, and Emilio Solla.
D’Arcy is a member of ASCAP, and her music is published and recorded by Dharma Gate Music, Capstone Records, North Pacific Music, and New Music Publications and Recordings.