Introduction to Classical Music Theory
Common Practice Harmony through Contemporary Harmonic Practice
Counterpoint (tonal, modal, serial)
Structure, Musical Development & Variation
Electronic Music Production
studied privately with composers and musicians in Los Angeles and San Francisco
and also have a Bachelor of Music degree in
classical music theory & composition from San Francisco State
University. My experience includes decades of playing, writing and
recording music for
video and film, television, multimedia,
computer games, dance/performance and compact discs.
I've been involved
electronic music production and MIDI sequencing since 1983. My studio
is in San Francisco, California.
Comments from Students:
When I found Jerry's
website, I was pretty sure I was seeing an oasis. A lifetime
professional composer who also teaches privately? Usually it's one or
the other. After listening to his 8th symphony and being absolutely
floored by the beauty and intricacy, I immediately contacted him and
started taking lessons two weeks later. Although I've been a musician
for 15 years, I started lessons with about 2 months of prior music
theory knowledge, mainly through a book I found at the library. Jerry
was very accommodating and was sure to go as slow as I needed (which was
pretty slow in the beginning). Two years later, I am now writing my own
pieces and learning to discover my own inner voice. I went from being
afraid of notes past the bar line, to reading and studying orchestral
scores for fun! If you are serious about wanting to learn more about
composition, or even just to learn more about music to become a better
performer, there is no better option.
Muller Fabbri, MD, PhD
I highly recommend Jerry Gerber for your
compositional training needs. He will patiently walk you through all the
building blocks of classical theory, through extensive examples from the
masters like Bach and Beethoven, and help you hone your skills via
exercises that force you to build on all previously acquired insights.
He is also a wealth of knowledge with ear training, computerized
scoring, and midi arranging for digital orchestration, and can quickly
get you up to speed in 21st century music production.
I had thought for some years about
attending grad school, having already earned a Bachelors of Music
degree. But the masters degree programs were either out-of-state or
prohibitively expensive. In music, what is needed if you want to be a
better musician, is to have the knowledge and skill to actually compose
or perform music. A degree looks good on a resume, and there are many
great benefits for participating in a program like that. But where
budget is concerned, I realized that if I simply looked at the course
work required in a typical degree program, I could tailor a program for
myself by studying some of the subjects privately.
Jerry Gerber's specialties set him apart from any other private study teacher that I have come to find in the state of California. My short yet productive time with Jerry thus far has opened my eyes towards a clearer path of becoming a serious composer/musician. Over this past summer, I commuted three hours every other week to receive two-hour lessons in regards to 20th Century Theory/Composition and MIDI sequencing. The element that is so remarkable about Jerry's lessons is his ability to render a lesson not only in regards to what we think of as the discipline of music, but more so through a holistic spectrum of subjects. Touching on factors that contribute towards making us more wholesome musicians, Jerry implements topics such as the art in technology, the science of sound, and historical relevance in the emotions we feel from a score. Undoubtedly, the benefits from private studies can really blossom with such a sensitive approach. If you are looking for maximum depth, breadth, and to develop as a composer, look no further. Gerber is not only a versatile professional, but also a knowledgeable musician, tasteful composer, and effective teacher.
I received lessons in composition and theory from Jerry during an extremely difficult time in my life. Jerry’s patience, expertise, skill, compassion, and verve for authenticity in life continually remind me why I am compelled to write; to make meaning of these experiences that are hardest to bear. Through Jerry's teachings, I have re-awakened to express musically what, for me, words never could. With each concept, Jerry's instruction and extensive knowledge of music helped me to develop a personal connection to the historical context within which it arose, often leaving me simultaneously humbled and inspired to be a part of this great tradition. Furthermore, Jerry privileges my own subjective ear as a composer. Such practice in non-conformity has given me the freedom to explore new ideas and the encouraging support to discover my own personal style, free of biased judgment. Lessons with Jerry have had an astounding influence on my musical sense, ability, and appreciation. Moreover, his teachings have significantly shaped my overall attitude towards composition, furthering my exploration of the personal and historical meaning that music itself gives to life.
Jerry Gerber is a great music teacher who inspires me to learn. His unlimited patience and broad knowledge make the lessons interesting (I learn something new every time). He teaches me with a systematic method, but bases the lessons on my own pace and gives me homework to make sure I completely understand everything he has taught. I’m so happy to have Jerry as my composition teacher. His teaching is terrific and efficient. I definitely recommend Jerry Gerber as a music teacher who has offered me a new and fantastic learning experience.
Joe Lin, 14
I've been with Jerry for the better part of a year and he's been a great teacher. He plays all kinds of styles and is very knowledgeable about everything from structured counterpoint to free-form improvisation. You can go at your own pace and focus on anything you really want to dive into. He's also been helping me with my piano technique. I definitely recommend Jerry!
Jerry Gerber possesses that rare combination of technical and musical knowledge together with the ability to organize and communicate it clearly to the student. I sought Jerry out because I wanted to improve my understanding of the challenges of orchestration for virtual instruments. He not only helped me to more clearly understand and how to get the best out of these remarkable but complex tools, he also was able to draw on his considerable background in acoustic composition to help me expand my understanding of traditional orchestration and form, both areas in which I have had a life long interest. Jerry is a man who definitely enjoys observing the progress his students make and will certainly expand your musical and technical horizons. Whether your interests involve principles of MIDI, composition, orchestration, analysis, notation or a combination of these disciplines, Jerry Gerber will definitely help you to become a more well rounded musician.
Jerry Gerber is a composer of the first order who, fortunately for us is willing to take on students. I have had the good fortune to study with Jerry for two years. The lessons have been weekly and are 'one on one.' In the beginning, I had a burning desire to write music but only a limited knowledge of music theory. During the prior two years we have covered traditional 4 part harmony, counterpoint, and modern harmony. The lessons have included ear training with instruction in music notation software. With the aid of Jerry's infinite patience and encouragement, I have written several chorals, multiple two part inventions and synthetic scale pieces. I have also composed a 12 tone piece and 1 and 1/2 fugues (number 2 is a work in progress). Jerry Gerber is an authority on electronic music. With his input and assistance, I have been able to develop a small studio of my own. For those interested in music composition, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration and all things related to music, Jerry is recommended without reservation.
Stephen E Conrad, MD