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As a private music tutor/teacher, Dave has spent the last 20 years providing quality education to hundreds of clients. Through Varsity Tutors, Dave is also expanding into giving that same quality to his other passion, English.
Approaching each student as an individual and drawing on their own passions to excite them about learning, Dave has had a fun and rewarding career connecting with his students. Dave's 3 biggest strengths are his ability to use positive reinforcement to motivate students, his aptitude in breaking any subject down its simplest building blocks in order to make it accessible to any student. and his laid back, cheerful teaching style.
Dave's other interests include songwriting, film and TV scoring, authoring short stories, playing music with his 2 sons and swimming.

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Dave’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: De Paul University - Bachelors, English/Music


Songwriting, film and TV scoring, authoring short stories, playing music with his 2 sons and swimming.

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

AP Music Theory


College English

College Level American Literature


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing


Music Recording

Music Theory



Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I find it is vital to find out what the student is passionate about and use that passion to get them excited about learning. I also find that breaking concepts down to their simplest building blocks helps students understand the subject better, therefore accumulating a collection of small successes and turning them into successful people.

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

Get to know them. Ask about their interests and hobbies, life goals and dreams, what they love about school and life, and then develop a strategy on how to use those things to make them a success in the subject they are studying with me.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teach them how to break things down into their simplest form so they can more readily access the information. Show them all the resources that are out there for them to investigate in any area of study. Motivate them to always search outside the box for ways to solve problems.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

First, positive reinforcement. Let them know that everyone struggles, but there is no greater feeling than overcoming a struggle. Encourage them that success is built upon a series of small successes, and to concentrate on the portion of the path they are on right now and not to get anxious about the end result. The end comes through taking one small step at a time.

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

I would break it down into its simplest form. I would also have them relate it to another part of their lives or to an interest to get them to look at the problem from another angle. And I would have them repeat it over and over, as that is the best way to master any skill.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

First, vocabulary. Make sure they understand the meaning and nuance of each word. Then ask them to explain the story in their own words. How would they tell the story? Finally, we would simply discuss what comprehension is and the expectations and joys that come with comprehension.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Start simple. Break things down to their level of comprehension. Then show them the excitement of learning through achieving a few small successes. If I can get them succeeding right away in the beginning, the chances of them growing in that subject matter are greater.

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

I would have them relate it to something they are already excited about. I would have them draw parallels between the subject and their other passions in order to show them that success in study and passion are instrumental to one another. Using resources from music, film, sports, etc., can be a powerful tool as well.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would have them explain it back to me as if they were teaching it to someone else. I would also have them repeat it several times, each time trying to explain it in a different way.

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

Concentrate on their strengths. Remind them of where they excel, and explain how they will eventually be able to bring that understanding to the parts of the lesson they do not currently understand.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By keeping a close watch on their anxiety levels when it comes to certain learning personalities. For example, if they struggle with the visual style, use more of a conversational style. And of course, just asking them what they need more of.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Some students need a lighter touch. Some need more encouragement. Some like to be treated with more independence. Within one or two sessions it is usually easy to see what kind of learning style they respond to. I basically am able to change my style to adapt to their needs. If they like lecture-based, I will lean more heavily on that style. If they like learning games or a visual style, I will lean that way.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

We start with their textbooks. I will incorporate anything from the Internet to homemade worksheets to supplement their textbooks. The tutoring company has some great resources as well. For music theory and sight reading, I have written my own curriculum.

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