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PD 2016-17

1. What were your previous recommendations and objectives? 

Conceptual Studies over Time:

  • Brain-Based Musical Instruction

  • How the artistic brain functions: Myelination, brain studies, implications on learning

  • Metacognition

  • Student-Centered Instruction

  • Enhancing the Process of Self Reflection - Harvard Project Zero

  • Sequential Musical Learning- The pyramid of learning

  • Sequential Musical Thinking - Related the pyramid to intuitive thought and non-thinking

  • Critical Thinking Skills in Music- Identification of the primary thinking skills present in music making- related to pyramid

  • Implications on Curriculum

  • Heterogeneous Blended Learning

  • Focus - The Felt Sense

  • Motivation - Belief Systems

2. What went well? Where did you feel most successful? What do you consider to be your areas of professional growth and major accomplishments?

Major accomplishments: 

Expanded development of the blended learning format.

I posted some insights here:

Wrote up the system here:
Got a couple gigs from the write-up. Assisting other schools in the development of blended learning in music.

Worked on my Jazz Piano chops.... ran a jazz workshop every morning before school.

Studied a boatload of philosophy. Eugene Gendlin to be specific.



3. What were the greatest challenges you faced this year?

Pretty easy year in many respects. Still trying to improve upon the blend. Trying a new proficiency approach. Links to that work shown down below.
I have been attempting to help the school find a system to move forward in pursuit of meeting ACT 77 regulations. I think there is great merit in competency-based
education. We need an administrative system that allows for innovation and growth. I think we have made some progress and it seems that the administration is beginning to embrace having others work on this educational challenge. I am walking very carefully for I have been down this road before. I am sensing that there
is a greater trust in my thinking and hope that I will be able to convey my work in a manner that will be well received. I do question why I bother with this stuff but find that I am intrigued by the process.

4.What do you want to work on next year?--goals for next year?

I hope to develop proficiencies for my performance-based courses. I want greater specificity into what skills and understandings are required within an ensemble setting.

I am also working to connect the community with BBA in ways never considered. I am on the VT. Production Counsel and hope to find a way to integrate the work of this group, ITVfest and
my department. My goal is to get more professionals on campus to work with our students.

I am wondering if I could create a set of proficiencies in Music Technology, then work with students on charting individualized pathways through theses competencies. There are great overlaps in all of my courses. How flexible can I get in the blend? Why should I pigeon-hole students into a 'subject?' What is it that you want to do with Music technology? Expose them to foundational material, then open up individualized pathways once the foundation is in place.

Would it be possible to emulate Universal Studios? There are so many divisions that include music, graphic design, photography, screen writing, etc. What if we looked at the department as a STUDIO.
Would this lend itself to more interdisciplinary connections? Why aren't the music students scoring the films? What about all the graphics and animation? I am just in the first stages of this contemplation.

Move the Gawliks to Riley Rink. Build an art gallery for people to mingle in while eating food prepared by the culinary students and local vendors. Have informal music during this cocktail hour.
Roll out the red carpet and have the Gawlik Awards accompanied by the full orchestra and choir. Find a way to make the awards more student centered and potentially add additional categories based on the STUDIO model I envisioned above. I have to politic this one quite a bit to make it happen.

5. What recommendations would you give to yourself in order to increase your effectiveness?
Continue to detach from the initiatives so that I can see clearly. Be present but not consumed.
Empower others and get out of the way.

6. How can I support you in meeting your goals?
Pizza talks are always good.




Worked with James Moore... created the musical score to Life Heist. Working on a new score for Bill Muench and hope to land a gig scoring the promo for ITVFest.

Some examples of Life Heist.









Currently working on understanding Human Motivation and the development of Belief Systems:


I have recently returned from a trip to the Leverage Institute in Oakland California. This organization is committed to researching what is known as Connection Theory.
CT, as it is known was developed by Jeff Anders, a 35-year-old philosopher who was inspired by Descartes and other philosophical giants. Jeff became committed to developing and testing
CT and has found great support for his efforts. Using his theories on human motivation, he essentially motivated key people to support his vision, receiving funding to create a think tank
in Oakland where some of the greatest minds can gather to learn and train others on the CT system.

Because of my work in Blended Learning, I was very intrigued by human motivation within the self-directed learning environment and wanted to learn more. I have been reading countless resources on the topic and have been guided by members of the Leverage organization in my research. Establishing relationships within this organization resulted in an invitation to go to Leverage and do a demonstration lesson and facilitate a dialogue session on learning. I was able to interview 5 different Leverage associates, talk with the founder and lead philosopher, and engage in a wonderful dialogue during my visit. Teaching to a group of really intelligent thinkers was exhilarating and the conversations that followed were inspiring. The Leverage members possess a unique ability to draw out fundamental beliefs in conversation making very deep connections with each other as they explore any type of topic. There is a universal love of learning and a shared belief that we need to teach people HOW to learn. This obviously resonated with me a great deal.

Without divulging too much information here, CT is built off of the understanding that our actions are a result of the beliefs that we have about the world. Our beliefs develop over time based on our understanding of concepts. All of our beliefs lead to us achieving that which we desire. These desires are known as intrinsic goods. The mind thinks that these Intrinsic goods will ALWAYS be achieved. Because of this, we adopt beliefs that will lead us to achieve these goods even in the event that these beliefs are not true or are completely wrong. This has taken me some time to comprehend. When you can identify that belief that has been created falsely, and become aware of it, you can "flip" that belief and in turn change the outcome.

This is a really lame description of CT, but I must say that after working through a charting process of my beliefs on a particular issue, I instantly saw results and achieved clarity rather quickly. In short, if you understand your beliefs and can determine their validity, you gain insight. I am starting a program with Jean from Leverage starting the end of September. I will be training twice a week with her for several months. Leverage is very interested in my educational background and would like me to get involved in the development of CT training systems. I will let that evolve naturally.

How does this tie into my current teaching: I am completely convinced that in order for Blended Learning to work effectively, we need to be able to teach students the power of metacognition and how to truly understand their belief systems in order to unlock the barriers to growth. This is not easy and is not common practice in today's classroom.

Traveled to the Leverage Institute and ran an educational workshop with members of the organization.




Who knows what I want to do? Who knows what anyone wants to do? How can you be sure about something like that? Isn’t it all a question of brain chemistry, signals going back and forth, electrical energy in the cortex? How do you know whether something is really what you want to do or just some kind of nerve impulse in the brain. Some minor little activity takes place somewhere in this unimportant place in one of the brain hemispheres and suddenly I want to go to Montana or I don’t want to go to Montana.

- Don DeLillo, White Noise

  1. Folk Psychology Folk psychology posits that we humans have beliefs and desires and that we are motivated to do what we believe will fulfill our desires.

  2. Neoclassical Economics neoclassical economics is "rationality," in which individuals are said to choose alternatives that maximize expected utilities. In particular, the neoclassical view is that individuals rank all possible alternatives according to how much satisfaction they will bring and then choose the alternative that [they expect] will bring the most satisfaction or utility...

  3. Behaviorism and Reinforcement Learning

    • The basic concept of operant conditioning is that an animal will repeat behaviors that give it reward but avoid behaviors that give it punishment.

    • Reinforcement learning: (RL) is learning by interacting with an environment. An RL participant/agent learns from the consequences of its actions, rather than from being explicitly taught and it selects its actions on basis of its past experiences (exploitation) and also by new choices (exploration), which is essentially trial and error learning.


  1. Reinforcement Learning and Decision Theory A key advantage of reinforcement learning: an agent using it can be 'dumber' than a decision-theoretic agent. It can just start with guesses ("What the hell; let's try 50%!") for the value of various states, and then it learns their true values by running through many, many trials. Reinforcement learning can be a good strategy if you have time to learn from many trials.

  2. The Turn to the Brain - All about dopamine

  3. Hebbian Learning When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently take part in firing it, a growth process of metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficacy, as one of the cells firing B, is increased. Myelination!

  4. Expected Utility in Neurons

  5. Real-Time Updates to Expected Utility

  6. Argmax and Reservation Price

  7. Random Utility

  8. Discounting

  9. Relative and Absolute Utility

  10. Normalization

  11. Are Actions Choices?

  12. The Primate Choice Mechanism: A Brief Review

  13. Marginal Utility and Reference Dependence

  14. Valuation in the Brain

  15. Summary and Research Directions

Human beings learn by experience what to seek and to avoid, and the memory of these experiences is preserved in the brain. 

Three Laws of Inquiry – Descarte

The first rule was never to accept anything as true unless I recognized it to be evidently such: that is, carefully to avoid precipitation and prejudgment, and to include nothing in my conclusions unless it presented itself so clearly and distinctly to my mind that there was no occasion to doubt it.

- The second was to divide each of the difficulties which I encountered into as many parts as possible, and as might be required for an easier solution.

- The third was to think in an orderly fashion, beginning with the things which were simplest and easiest to understand, and gradually and by degrees reaching toward more complex knowledge, even treating as though ordered materials which were not necessarily so.

- The last was always to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I would be certain that nothing was omitted.

  • Clear your mind of previous assumptions

  • Break your problem into as many parts as possible

  • Start with the simplest challenges and work towards complexity

  • Review your work to ensure that nothing was missed

Check out the Commitment Effect! 

Many studies show that once we commit to a position, it is much harder for us to think critically about it. We devote more of our energy to defending it than evaluating it. 

Employee Motivation Test


Likely Perspective of High Scoring Candidate

Confidence in ability to achieve exceptional results
I actively seek ways to improve the quality and effectiveness of my work

Belief in performance-based rewards
I will be fairly rewarded for achieving my objectives

Receptiveness to be positively influenced and develop skills
I am inspired by the work I do and the fulfillment of my goals

Ability to align actions with organization’s vision and core values
My organization and I share the same values

Finds pleasure and takes pride in performing work activities
I speak highly of my job when talking to others

Ability to build strong connections at work
I have a relationship with my supervisor which would be difficult to break

Tendency toward long tenure
I want to keep working for this organization for a long time

Eduard Spranger was a German philosopher and psychologist.

His research led to identifying 6 types of “value attitudes” which are…

The 6 Motivators

1. Theoretical – Accumulating knowledge, facts and research

2. Utilitarian – Utilizing resources to gain maximum return on all investments

3. Aesthetic – Self-actualization through experiencing variety, beauty, harmony and balance

4. Social – Helping people and eliminating hatred, conflict, and injustices

5. Individualistic – Gaining Power, advancing position and leading others

6. Traditional – Following a system for living that provides the basis for all decisions Check this again.

Four factors are necessary to build the strongest levels of self-motivation:

  1. Self-confidence and self-efficacy.

  2. Positive thinking, and positive thinking about the future.

  3. Focus and strong goals.

  4. A motivating environment.








Research on Focus/Mindset

Thoughts on old systems work:
Struggling to see all of my work "switched off" only to find needed tools missing, software rolled out ineffectively, forms missing, policy changes in reaction to problems that have not been thought out, etc. The process of letting go of monitoring and managing these systems is still a bit of a struggle for me. I have the capacity to help, but there are new people that are now responsible for doing the work. I can't see how we are better off technologically, however... I wrap this into my own baggage... probably my belief that few people knew what I really had been managing systemically. This triggers my belief that my work was not valued in the past. Silly thinking really. What comes from this thinking? ...very important PD. The challenge is how to function within a system that does not meet my personal expectations for systemic practice. How do I react to this? How do I lead my colleagues when I know that it all could be done better? I have come to understand once again that one should not establish beliefs when all the facts are not present. There are many bigger fires that are being managed behind the scenes that may make it a challenge for administration to cover everything 100% of the time. We never really know what another person's job is, so why should we judge? Well... I did that job, and it is hard to watch elements fall through the cracks. My challenge then is to dismiss any trigger it evokes and move on. Darn ego gets in the way.

I am grateful to have the time to devote to new initiatives. There is a distinct possibility that these new efforts may lead to opportunities elsewhere where my talents are better served. I crave to work with others on projects and want to make a larger difference for the world beyond a single classroom. I am actively pursuing options and enjoying the ride.



Working with Apple Representatives to assist schools in Massachusetts develop music technology labs.
Working to create Apple Symposium on technology in the classroom.


Built my first proficiency-based units using learning scales.



  1. Flexible Pace?

  2. "Baseline Competencies" as a form of Grad Requirement

  3. Blended Learning Tools

  4. Proficiency-based grading practice 1-4 – Conversion scale for A,B,C,D

  5. Formative Assessments that are not reported on Transcripts

  6. Summative Assessments that measure overall competency.... (take the highest grade)

  7. Alternative Pathways – Online, Blended, Internships, Mountain Campus

Competency-based education aligns well with the school’s reliance on the online content-delivery platform, which allows students to work at their own pace on computers. It also fits into the school’s broader philosophy of meeting each individual student where he is when he enters, graduating students throughout the year, and providing sufficient flexibility to keep students engaged by allowing them to work on the subjects of their choosing each day.

Results are seen thus far:
Schools have:

  • Created competencies for each subject, used proficiency-based grading practice, created flexible options for moving through the curriculum.

  • Created competencies but have not altered teaching methods and grading practice… much like writing a curriculum and putting it on a shelf.

  • Resisted competencies and have stayed the same.

Key Philosophical Questions:

  1. Should we ensure that when students graduate they have at least a minimum level of skill and understanding in Literacy, Math, Science, Global Studies, Arts, Health?

  2. Should we track learning habits and assess/develop thinking skills?

  3. Do we embrace alternative learning pathways

  4. Should the student be free to move at a pace that works for their learning style?

Minimum Competencies
Alternative Pathways
Flexible Pace
Habits for Learning ent/d/1G6ERB1nqWerW15ZSmA5UOvo4x4KvAIFYGvgR7tHYh6o/edit


The Big Five personality traits, also known as the five-factor model (FFM), is a model based on common language descriptors of personality. J.M. Digman advanced his five-factor model of personality, which Lewis Goldberg extended to the highest level of organization.

The five factors have been defined as openness to experienceconscientiousnessextraversionagreeableness, and neuroticism, often listed under the acronyms OCEAN or CANOE.


  • Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. High openness can be perceived as unpredictability or lack of focus. Moreover, individuals with high openness are said to pursue self-actualization specifically by seeking out intense, euphoric experiences, such as skydiving, living abroad, gambling, et cetera. Conversely, those with low openness seek to gain fulfillment through perseverance and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven—sometimes even perceived to be dogmatic and closed-minded. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret and contextualize the openness factor.

Sample items[edit]

  • I have excellent ideas.

  • I am quick to understand things.

  • I use difficult words.

  • I am full of ideas.

  • I am not interested in abstractions. (reversed)

  • I do not have a good imagination. (reversed)

  • I have difficulty understanding abstract ideas. (reversed)[35]


  • Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. High conscientiousness is often perceived as stubbornness and obsession. Low conscientiousness is associated with flexibility and spontaneity, but can also appear as sloppiness and lack of reliability.[4]

  • I am always prepared.

  • I pay attention to details.

  • I get chores done right away.

  • I like order.

  • I follow a schedule.

  • I am exacting in my work.

  • I leave my belongings around. (reversed)

  • I make a mess of things. (reversed)

  • I often forget to put things back in their proper place. (reversed)

  • I shirk my duties. (reversed)[35]


  • Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness. High extraversion is often perceived as attention-seeking, and domineering. Low extraversion causes a reserved, reflective personality, which can be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed

Sample items[edit]

  • I am the life of the party.

  • I don't mind being the center of attention.

  • I feel comfortable around people.

  • I start conversations.

  • I talk to a lot of different people at parties.

  • I don't talk a lot. (reversed)

  • I think a lot before I speak or act. (reversed)

  • I don't like to draw attention to myself. (reversed)

  • I am quiet around strangers. (reversed)[35]

  • I have no intention of talking in large crowds. (reversed)


  • Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not. High agreeableness is often seen as naive or submissive. Low agreeableness personalities are often competitive or challenging people, which can be seen as argumentative or untrustworthy.[4]

  • I am interested in people.

  • I sympathize with others' feelings.

  • I have a soft heart.

  • I take time out for others.

  • I feel others' emotions.

  • I make people feel at ease.

  • I am not really interested in others. (reversed)

  • I insult people. (reversed)

  • I am not interested in other people's problems. (reversed)

  • I feel little concern for others. (reversed)[35]

Created a presentation for Bulldog leadership summit.
Leadership and Introverts 














































---school-wide survey and interviews for the master campus planning.



Created iterations based on research.



Member of the GNAT-TV Board

Member of VT- Production Counsel - Bringing ITVFest to Manchester. Community activism

Music and the Brain Research!AkwoGANP5SirhvhuwN3685v6QMmb9A


Composed four original compositions for Orchestra... one of my goals has been to compose instead of just arrange. Pursuing the ability to compose for film.

This song was a representation of the work I did on Eugene Gendlin... Felt Sense

Felt Sense.pdf











Open to Prism - Film scoring emulation

Fire Score.pdf
















Based on a twelve-tone row...mathematical composition

Bytes Score.pdf















An amalgamation of several composers... attempting to study their style and harmony

Change 2 Score.pdf


















Rebuilt my Audio Production Curriculum
Rebuilt my Digital DJ Curriculum
Continued my study of Guitar
Accompanied the Choir on Piano - another goal from previous years.

Created a student teacher curriculum to address common deficiencies.


Created a resource for a lecture I gave at Castleton regarding music education;


Taught Trumpet and Audio Production at Castleton
Wrote a business plan for the creation of a new Collegiate program based on the Blended approach. Using these concepts in my current position

Learned how to Projector Map - Prisms
Worked on the use of extensions for Jazz Piano voicings



Quarter Finalist

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