Price per lesson
Book a Lesson with BJ Derganc
BJ Derganc (pronounced Der-ganse) is a composer of music for games, film, and concert. After many years of lessons, he attended the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
He teaches subjects ranging from instrumental studies, music theory, and composition to studio techniques and scoring. He has a strong passion for music from the classical repertoire to modern pop and electronic music.
I have a very customized approach that is rich in fundamentals and ear training.
My main goal is to ensure that with a little hard work and consistency, nothing will stop you from achieving your musical goals. Rather than using the same set of materials and approach for each student, I design a custom curriculum based on your input. When you come to me for lessons, I want you to feel as though you are getting the information and instruction that you want, not the instruction that somebody else decides is right, before they even meet with you.
After each lesson I keep a detailed log of what we covered and how I recommend you go about your practice throughout the week. This ensures that you get the most out of each lesson. You are also welcome to contact me during the week with questions. I would hate for your progress to be slowed down by a simple question the day after the lesson. I work hard to make myself available to all of my students.
• Building fundamental technique (scales, arpeggios, etudes)
• Playing with an accompaniment (backing track, metronome)
• Studying songs or repertoire works
• Mastering the fretboard
• Learning to read notated music and chords
• Learning to improvise
• Analysis of music (finding any important information that allows us to emulate the style in new compositions)
• Writing exercises within a strict environment (“compose 8 bars for string orchestra with the following harmonic scheme,” “compose a 4 bar drum and bass vamp with your favorite samples”
• Every single step in the process of composing, whether it be a piece for full orchestra, or a piece of music using synthesizers and samples
• Completing music and getting it ready to share with the world
• Highly customized listening-intensive study of any type of music. Every style of music has features and conventions that make it sound the way it does. By taking a close look at them we can learn how it works, and how it can be emulated in new compositions
• Ear training (intervals, rhythm, melodic/harmonic dictation)
• Highly customized curriculum in common practice period (classical), jazz, and pop theory, as well as guidance through existing curriculums (ABRSM, etc)
• I also enjoy teaching jazz, pop, and game/film music theory. For every type of music, there is a structure and guidelines that make it unique. I want to get into whatever you're interested in and find out why it sounds so good!
• Learning to use a DAW (Logic Pro X, Audacity, Reaper, and Cubase)
• The basics of recording
• Digital synthesis (creating an electronic sound from scratch in any popular soft synth)
What do I do differently?
• I keep a detailed log of lessons and homework assignments. This keeps us on track and ensures we make progress towards your goal.
• I dig deep into unfamiliar styles and new software whenever the student requests
Master's of Music, Composition Aug 2011 - May 2013
Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University
Bachelor of Music, Composition Aug 2007 - May 2011
My lesson materials vary based on each student's individual needs and goals. I always encourage having a book or curriculum to spend part of the lesson on. That way we can ensure as much consistency as possible week to week.
Some of my preferred books include:
• The Art of Walking Bass - Mangnusson
• The Complete Musician - Laitz
• Counterpoint in Composition - Salzer
• Creating Jazz Bass Lines - Stinnett
• The Essential Guide to Game Audio - Horowitz/Loony
• Figured Harmony at the Keyboard - Morris
• Game Sound - Collins
• Harmony I-V - Berklee Press
• The Jazz Theory Book - Levine
• On the Track - Karlin
• Orchestration - Adler
• Sight Singing (pitch, interval, rhythm) - Adler
• Techniques and Materials of Tonal Music, Music for Analysis - Benjamin
*This is just a list of books that I enjoy teaching from. Please speak to me before making a purchase so that I can find the right book for you!