Robert Patton

Associate Professor

"I like to be fun, crazy, and creative, but at the same time get down to the basics. I never teach exactly the same way. I'm always evolving. I'm always getting surprised."

"I spend a lot of time talking about the way in which you practice, telling students not to waste time, to become really efficient learners. I also talk to students about why they do this, not only for the efficiency of learning but how it applies to real life and what you're going to be expected to do."

"My professional experience allows me to give real-life examples of what you really need to do and what you don't to be successful. I frame everything in Ear Training class in terms of real playing and what would be expected of you. Part of my job is to try to shorten students' journey without letting the discovery somehow be absent. I'm trying to show students a path through things."

"I hope that students take away from my teaching a method to attack the problems, to find the answers. I know that they won't necessarily realize now the impact of a lot of the things that I say to them, but five years from now, there will be a light bulb that goes on, and they'll say, 'Now I understand.'"

"It's really hard for any of us to judge students' talent. Judging talent is very difficult. What you judge is growth, and whether it seems appropriate or above average. If students are so entrenched in music and it's a part of life they can't do without, then they're the right person for it, because whichever way the chips fall, they'll be OK."

Career Highlights

  • B.M.Ed., Temple University
  • Performances/tours with Stanley Clarke, Sammy Davis Jr., the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Hall and Oates, Liberace, and Artie Shaw
  • Active performer, including concert, club, Broadway musical, and show bands
  • Member of touring band for Promises, Promises
  • Audio engineer for more than 30 years
  • Owner, Thin Ice Productions
  • Soundtracks for Computervision, Sikorsky, Bose, Reebok, PBS, among others
  • Member of Philadelphia Jazz Ensemble with Stanley Clarke
  • Created Music Minus One recordings for the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, now in use for student auditions
  • Recipient of Berklee Performance Division Award for interactive ear training website