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I went to school at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester where I received my bachelor's degree in music composition. Later, I moved on to Yale University where I received a master's degree in the same subject, and the University of Michigan where I received my doctorate. I have taught students as young as four years old as well as older adults who just want to learn a new discipline. I've tutored students, primarily on the piano, but have also helped them with music theory, literature, history, languages and other topics. In the classroom, I've taught A/P music theory at the high school level, taught music theory, history, composition and analysis to college and graduate students, and taught composition students privately. I'm also a conductor and manage a performing organization.

As a teacher, I believe in being a coach. I want you to discover something amazing, and I LOVE seeing that first moment of discovery on a student's face. You have all of the tools you need to learn; it's my job to help you discover and learn how to use them.

Obviously, I love teaching music, but I actually really enjoy talking about other subjects, as well. I am a native Spanish speaker, so I am tutoring Spanish for Varsity Tutors. My approach is primarily conversational, but I can help you find your way through this beautiful language. I also love to read and watch movies and TV. I've taught art and film appreciation as well as intro to the humanities and LOVE to discuss the meaning behind works of art. I'm tutoring literature because of this and aim to help you discover deeper meanings in your reading assignments.

Outside of teaching, I'm a practicing musician. I write and conduct music as well as manage an ensemble of musicians on the east coast. I love that work and love hearing a piece of music being performed for the first time ever. I'm also a bit of a geek. I love movies of all kinds, but have a soft spot for what I call, "big, explodey" movies. I'm an especially die hard Star Wars fan.

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Armando’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Eastman School of Music - Bachelors, Music Composition

Graduate Degree: The University of Michigan - PHD, Music Composition


Music (writing it, playing it, conducting it), movies, comics, TV and other geeky interests, standup comedy.

Tutoring Subjects

AP Music Theory

College English

Comparative Literature

Conversational Spanish


High School English




Music Theory



Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

You already have the tools to learn what you need to learn. I will be your coach in discovering your full potential.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First sessions are about getting to know each other and setting up goals. Let's talk a while, see who we are, and then set off to learn together.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I believe in being a Socratic teacher. Socrates believed that all people knew everything there is to know, they'd just forgotten that they do, and it's the teacher's role to help them find it again. Think of me as your coach. I can teach you the game strategy, but you have to play the game.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

When I teach, it's about sharing the love for a topic with my students. Love is the best motivator. Discovering what is cool about a subject is the best way to conquer it.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Difficulties will always arise. It's not always clear where they lie, though. Sometimes it's the subject, sometimes it's the approach a student takes, and sometimes it's just a bad day. I try to discover the REASON behind the difficulties, and develop strategies to overcome them based on these specific reasons.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

It's about the love! Find something in the subject that you love that is just so cool, you have to learn more about it. You'll find that the puzzle starts unraveling little by little when you do.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I like to find a student's strengths in a subject first. When we tackle the difficult parts of a topic through the parts that we are strong in our knowledge of, confidence follows.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

In order to evaluate a student's needs, I have to listen to the student, allow him/her to share their frustrations with the subject, as well as their fascinations. One often informs the other, and students will often reveal what they need if you simply allow them to tell you.

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