In 2011, I was awarded the Northwestern College Teaching Excellence Award, the youngest recipient of the award at the time. Below are student course evaluations from recent years (including evaluations for ALL courses taught at the Unviersity of Utah since 2015), as well as a statement of teaching philosophy and other materials.
Student Evaluations & Syllabi
Click on Semester for evaluations. Click on course name for syllabus.
Fall 2018 (Utah) — Courses: Post–Tonal Analysis, Baroque Counterpoint, Composition Seminar, Private Composition
Fall 2018 (Utah) — Courses: Music Theory III (2 sections), Graduate Review Survey of Music Theory, Graduate Advanced Post–Tonal Analysis II, Private Composition
Spring 2018 (Utah) — Courses: Music Theory II, Musicianship II, Post–Tonal Theory, Baroque Counterpoint
Fall 2017 (Utah) — Courses: Music Theory I, Music Theory III, Composition Seminar, Graduate Review Survey of Music Theory
Spring 2017 (Utah) — Courses: Music Theory I, Music Theory II, Post–Tonal Music Analysis (2 sections), Private Composition
Fall 2016 (Utah) — Courses: Music Theory I, Musicianship I (2 sections), Music Theory III, Composition Seminar
Spring 2016 (Utah) — Courses: Form and Analysis, Instrumentation, Special Topics: Advanced Analysis (on the Bach chorales)
Fall 2015 (Utah) — Courses: Composition Seminar, Post–Tonal Analysis (2 sections), Graduate Review Survey of Music Theory
Fall 2012 (Northwestern) — Courses: Music Theory I, Music Theory III, Private Composition
Spring 2011 (Northwestern) — Courses: Music Theory II, Private Composition
Fall 2010 (Northwestern) — Courses: Music Theory I, Music Theory III, Private Composition
Spring 2010 (Northwestern) — Courses: Music Theory II, Music Theory IV (Post–Tonal), Private Composition
COMMENTS FROM STUDENTS (since Fall 2015):
"Dr. Dahn is the best teacher at the school of music! He cares about each students understanding of course materials and is always available for outside help." (Theory II, Spring 2017, Utah)
"Professor Dahn is by far the best theory/general music course teacher I’ve had at my time at the U (and I’ve had a several theory teachers here). His explanations and the way he structures the class make an effective and understandable learning environment--have him teach more classes and get more professors like him so first
and second years can have a strong theory foundation!" (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 3), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Dr. Dahn is fantastic! He is so patient and is willing to go through a concept several times in several different ways until we understood it. He definitely deserves a raise." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 3), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Luke has been one of my favorite teachers at the music school. He makes himself very accessible for students during class and outside of class. He presents the information efficiently with no fluff in a way that is very easy to understand." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 3), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Best theory type class teacher that i ever had! He is always willing to go above and beyond fro his students, so very talanted." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 3), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Great instructor who is really understanding & good at listening. He’s good at getting to the problem of why you don’t understand the issue, and he’s good at
teaching you and explaining things to you in a way you understand." (Theory II, Spring 2017, Utah)
"Dr. Dahn does a great job at taking difficult concepts and making them understandable to all students with different learning abilities." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 1), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Best theory class I’ve ever had, taking this has convinced me that if I were to write music, this is the style I would write in. I thoroughly enjoyed the semester." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 1), Spring 2017, Utah)
"Professor Dahn is a fantastic professor. He is very honest and takes time to listen to his students. He always explained things in a way that everyone in the class
would understand. The set up for his class and his syllabus were realistic and I learned more from him that from any other theory professor." (Theory III, Fall 2016, Utah)
"dr.dahn is an exceptional teacher. always willing to answer questions, and works to make sure you are learning the material. dr. dahn is exactly what a higher level
educator should be loved the class and loved him!" (Theory III, Fall 2016, Utah)
"He really cares about the students and learning. The environment of the classroom is always comfortable, and learning-conducive. (Post–Tonal Theory, Spring 2018, Utah)
"One of the best theory teachers that I had. Explains and presents material very successfully.Love his class, I have learned so much. He is always is happy to help and
cares so much about the success of his students. Excited to take other classes from him." (Theory III, Fall 2016, Utah)
"I thought this instructor was truly fantastic! He absolutely knew what he was talking about and demonstrated excellent pedagogy. I hope that he becomes a permanent part of this school for a long time to come. I can’t wait to take more courses from him." (Form and Analysis, Spring 2016, Utah)
"He treated us like colleagues instead of students. He respected our opinions and encouraged class discussion. He showed many examples that were extremely
applicable to the material that was being learned at the time & was very cautious about making sure we knew the material before moving on to the next
subject/lesson." (Post–Tonal Theory (Section 1), Fall 2015, Utah)
"The instructor was hard working, well–organized, caring for his students, and overall an effective teacher. He explained the lessons clearly, using verbal explanation, visual representation, and audio examples, all of which were very helpful in understanding the material of the course." (Theory I, Fall 2017, Utah)
"Very kind, helpful, and engaging lecturer. He is very reasonable about class expectations and is willing to change them to fit the individual class." (Post–Tonal Theory, Spring 2018, Utah)
"He encouraged out of the box thinking and welcomed other thoughts and opinions on Analysis and interpretation. He worked with the students to make sure they
understood the concepts taught by explaining them several different ways." (Theory III, Fall 2016, Utah)
"Professor Dahn made musicianship a fun and challenging course by having students do interactive activities that challenged our brains. He also asked what we needed help with every time the class met, so we were always motivated to learn. (Musicianship II, Spring 2018, Utah)
"Prof Dahn is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the material. He is always interested in hearing students’ ideas and willing to help students learn." (Special Topics in Music Theory, Spring 2016, Utah)
"His ability to connect with the students was terrific. I appreciated that he stopped and explained when people did not understand." (Graduate Theory Review, Fall 2015, Utah)
"Dr. Dahn was a great teacher, both experienced in this subject and able to explain it clearly. I came to class expecting to either deepen my knowledge or learn
something new, and was rarely disappointed. I loved the Composition competition we had, as well as the 12–tone score team activity and the Group quiz
Competition. It really encouraged us to solidify our understanding of these concepts, and compare notes (so to speak) with other students. They were also a lot of
fun, and made class interesting and enjoyable." (Post–Tonal Theory, Spring 2018, Utah)
As I look back on my education, the teachers who I remember most are not the ones who gave easy passing grades, or those who waxed eloquently from a lectern. I remember those teachers who engaged us students, not letting us sit back and relax in class. I remember those who challenged us to think critically about the subject matter and those whose excitement about the material spilled over into the classroom. Most of all, I remember those teachers who cared deeply for their students and even took them into their lives. These teachers have influenced my own teaching philosophy, and it is these teachers I try to emulate in my classrooms.
I believe that students tend to learn best by doing rather than by hearing or seeing. I therefore attempt to find ways of putting concepts, projects, and assignments into action (e.g. composing/performing in theory class). When covering a new concept, I prefer to create an environment in which students discover the intricacies of that concept on their own rather than being simply told about them. Through this discovery process, students develop critical thinking skills and take ownership of the material. They don’t merely learn concepts; they learn how to learn.
Having now taught at both a small liberal arts college (8 years) and at large research universities (4 years), I have worked with many different kinds of students — students with different musical goals and backgrounds. I have learned that adapting to the needs of both the student and the college or university is crucial in contributing to the success of the students. In all situations, I attempt to create a sense of community and collaboration in the classroom. It is very important to me that students be treated as maturing adults, for it is my experience that when they are treated as such, they respond well, seeking to meet all expectations.
I also understand that students are diversely gifted and have a variety of learning styles. Some learn best by reading, then discussing; others by small group work; and still others learn best by writing. I incorporate a variety of learning exercises and environments in order to maximize the growth of each student.
Finally, I believe that a teacher has a duty to never stop learning, that s/he continually evaluate and reevaluate his or her performance, and that s/he lead by example, both inside and outside the classroom. I owe this much to all my students, co–workers, and to those professors whose invaluable influence and encouragement have shaped my own teaching.
Curriculum Vita: PDF