Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Expert Profile

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I can answer questions from students of "classical" composing, arranging, notation problems and music theory, writing for instruments and voice and writing music for education. I can answer questions about orchestration but I do not cover questions about pop or rock music, pop song writing or electronic music.

I taught for many years in UK up to "A" level theory and composition. I have spent many years in music education, initially (like everyone else) as a teacher. Then I moved on to advisory work (teaching teachers!) and also lectured, giving many workshops for teachers in developing music education skills and techniques. For a time I worked as a teacher-lecturer at London University's Institute of Education and eventually worked full-time as a Music Education Adviser to schools in part of London, offering advice on music education and curriculum development.


International Society for Music Education; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


"The Times" Educational Supplement; "Hi-Fi News and Record Review". For several years, I used to write for many of the state music education periodicals in the US and I also wrote several influential articles on instrumental music teaching for "Music Teacher" magazine in the UK. (UK).


PhD(Hons); MA(Hons); FLCM (compositon) ARCM, LMusTCL,(music diplomas)

What do you like about this subject?

I have always been fascinated with the arts, especially music. I used to think of music as a kind of language but have since ditched that view. The concept is not especially helpful, for music can so often transcend language completely. Music often takes over where language fails.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I believe totally in the concept of life-long learning. It may be true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks but that adage should not apply to human beings with a normal working mind. In fact, we have to keep learning just to keep up with everyday technologies.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Victor01/15/16101010Thank you very much for your prompt .....

Recent Answers from Dr Colin

2016-10-03 satb:

Dear Henrik,    Thanks for your questions.     1. As to the SATB query, you refer I think to a parallel fourth. The issue here is whether it sounds OK. The only reason that we don't write parallel fifths

2016-07-06 2-5-1 in classical music:

Dear Hank,    In my previous email I wrote:    The letter "c" after a chord means that the fifth note of the chord appears in the bass, same as Dm/A.     This may not be very clear for you. By the "fifth"

2016-07-05 2-5-1 in classical music:

Dear Hank,    Thank you for getting in touch. I presume you are referring to the chord progression, ii-V-I. (In Western music, these numbers are always written using Roman numerals with lower case for

2016-02-26 czerny:

Dear Hank,    Thanks for this interesting question.     There is a great deal of confusion (even among experienced musicians) about the use of dynamic signs partly because classical composers used them

2015-12-29 harmony:

Dear Hank,    It is most definitely a V9 chord. We would describe it as "a dominant ninth over a tonic pedal bass." It is not a Bdim7 chord. The important thing about these pedal notes (which I described


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