Office: A15
Phone: 408.864.8511

Office Hours: Spring

 Monday thru Thursday
  8:50 am - 9:15 am
  11:20 am - 11:45 am
 (other times by appointment)

Office Hours: Fall & Winter

Monday and Wednesday
  8:50 am - 9:20 am
  11:20 am - 11:50 am
 Tuesday and Thursday
  8:30 am - 9:20 am
(other times by appointment)


Music 1A: Introduction to Music
(Fall, Winter, Spring)
MW at 9:30-11:20 in A11
TTh at 9:30-11:20 in A11

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music
(Fall, Winter, Spring)
MW at 12:30-2:45 in A91

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music
(Spring quarter only)
TTh at 12:30-2:45 in A91

The De Anza College website has admissions/registration information and class schedules.


I am also a photographer

My book, California's Fall Color: A Photographer's Guide to Autumn in the Sierra (Heyday Books, Berkeley) was published in the summer of 2015.

Update 1/17/17: Two of my night photography prints have been accepted into the Nocturnes and Noir exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco. Show runs February 11 through April 2, 2017. Opening reception on February 11 at 5:30-8:00PM.

Update 12/20/16: For the fifth consecutive year my photography has been selected for inclusion in the Yosemite Renaissance exhibit in Yosemite Valley and elsewhere in California. Opening reception in Yosemite Valley on February 24, 2017.

Five of my prints were included in The Great Certainty: Photographs Commemorating 100 Years of National Park Stewardship at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley, August 6 through September 10.

In September 2016 I present book talks at several Bay Area REI stores.

  • Tuesday, September 13: 7:00 PM at the Mountain View REI store, Charleston Plaza, 2450 Charleston Rd.
  • Wednesday September 14: 7:00 PM at the San Francisco REI store, 840 Brannan.
  • Tuesday, September 20: 7:00 PM at the Saratoga REI store, 400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose.

In October I exhibited at San Francisco Artspan 2016 Open Studios with Studio Nocturne SF — a San Francisco Bay Area group of night photographers.

I am not a member the photography faculty, but I can assure you that De Anza College has a wonderful photography program — consider enrolling in our photography classes!

Current News and Information

Music 1A Students: This is a great weekend to go to a concert for your concert report assignment.

Unrelated to my teaching here at De Anza but

… if you heard about this year’s California wildflower “super bloom” following our very wet winter, here is a photograph from the Carrizo Plain National Monument, where the flowers were absolutely wild this year!

Flower-Covered Hills

Flower-Covered Hills

Flower-Covered Hills. Carrizo Plain National Monument, California. April 2, 2017. © Copyright 2017 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

1A: Late/Missed Homework.

Reminders about due dates for the weekly Music 1A listening assignment homework.

  • Assignments are due right at 9:30. I do not accept them late.
  • However, if you are running late or will be absent, you may use your phone (or a scanner, etc) to make a photograph of your completed work. Email that to me no later than the start time of class and your work will be consider on time… as long as you hand in the same work that you photographed at the next available opportunity.
  • You get one “free” homework assignment — your lowest homework assignment grade does not count.
  • (And… shhhh, it is a “secret…” you will be able to resubmit one homework assignment for reconsideration near the end of the term. Don’t tell anyone!)

Concert List Update 4/27/17

The concert list was updated on Wednesday evening. Many new events were added for this coming weekend, especially on Sunday, when there are many afternoon concerts that you can attend. Take a look, pick a concert, and attend so that you can get started on the report!

Electronic Music Take-Home Quizzes — Practical Matters

  • There will be several take-home quizzes in each of my electronic music classes this quarter. (Four in the Intro class — two before each test — and two in the Intermediate class.)
  • These quizzes are almost always based on subjects I cover in class, so attendance is important! (Get notes from someone if you are absent.)
  • Quizzes are always due at the start of class one week after I announce them.
  • Print your quiz out as soon as it is announced — don’t wait until just before it is due.
  • Start early and ask questions of me if you need help while you work on the quiz.
  • You are required  to print the quiz form from the website and submit your answers on the printed form. (Do not write them on a piece of binder paper, type them out separately, etc.)
  • The quiz questions are essentially the same as the test questions, so by treating the quizzes as practice tests you will likely be well prepared for the tests.

Music 1A: Listing Versus Describing… And A Few More Things About Homework

I frequently see homework assignment answers that make the mistake of providing a list who the question calls for a description. These two things — lists and descriptions — are not the same.

You would not answer the following two requests the same way.

  • List your three best friends.
  • Describe your three best friends.

Make sense? In the first case you could simply name three people. In the second case you need to offer more information and describe some of their characteristics. 

Many of my homework assignments ask you to describe things (or, in some cases list and describe), so read carefully and respond accordingly. For example.

  • List textures used in this piece.
    You could answer, for example, monophonic and polyphonic textures.
  • Describe the use of texture in this piece.
    You could answer, for example, The piece starts with monophonic texture. As more instruments come in it changes to polyphony. The texture becomes homophonic when the piano accompanies the singer.


  • Remember that you must not simply quote text from the book on the homework assignments. At a minimum you must paraphrase in your own words, since that suggests that you understand the information.
  • You will never earn an A grade on a homework paper on which you substitute quotes in place of your own descriptions.
  • Make sure your answers are focused on the subject of the questions. Avoid bringing in unrelated and/or irrelevant material — it actually makes your answer less credible.
  • Avoid excess verbosity — in general it is better to answer in a clear, concise, and efficient manner that conveys your knowledge of the subject.
  • Always answer on the printed form from the website. Please do not attach handwritten or typed sheets unless you clear it with me ahead of time.
  • Always do the listening and consult the text before answering!

Week III Notes — Spring 2017

Music 1A: Introduction to Music

  • Our second weekly quiz is at the first class meeting of the week — Monday or Tuesday, depending up which class you are taking. Note that we’ll start right at 9:30 this time, not waiting a few minutes as we did on the first quiz.
  • The second listening assignment homework is due at the second class meeting of the week, also right at 9:30. (Remember that you can avoid late penalties by emailing a photograph of both pages of the printed assignment before the start time of class if you think you may be absent or delayed.)
  • Studying in the text/recording continues — see week three in the class calendar.
  • Test #1 is coming rather soon — at the second class meeting of week IV, the week after this. Your test study and review should now be underway. (It is easy to think of tests as “something out there in the future,” but that future arrives in little more than one week!) I’ll share more information about the tests in class.
  • The due date for the concert report is still a ways off, but (as we discussed in class) you must attend your concert well before the due date, especially if your family, work, transportation, and/or budget limit your options. This coming weekend is perhaps the best time to attend your concert. Check the concert list for qualifying events.

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music

  • Assignment #2 is due in class later this week. Keep in mind the motto: Get it done first. Make it better later!
  • Be sure to ask for help if you are encountering problems or questions on these assignments.
  • For those who need extra lab time (for any reason, including to make up for an absence), workstations are also available during my Tuesday/Thursday class at 12:30-2:45.

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music

  • Assignment #2 is due in another week. This week we’ll continue looking at how to create sounds using the Subtractor.
  • Quiz #1 (on the subject of harmonics and waveforms) is due in class on Thursday..
  • Extra lab time may be available during my Monday/Wednesday 12:30-2:45 class.

De Anza College Video

O Superman

More on Laurie Anderson here:

Sleep Deprivation, Anyone?

All of us, at least those of us who are busy, know the feeling. You are in a class or a meeting or something similar. You are doing something and you are fine. But the pace slows — perhaps you have to pay careful attention to an involved description of a complex topic. Deep fatigue comes over you. The eyes droop. The head droops… and snaps back up. You can’t help yourself. You are falling asleep.

What to do?

There is no single easy answer and, as you’ll see, sometimes you just have to surrender. However… (more…)

Music 1A 4/20/17 Music

Short Ride in a Fast Machine, by John Adams

Music 1A Spring 2017 Concert List

The first full concert list update has now been posted, including events over the next week and a half or so. Any event on the list is eligible for the concert report assignment. (You may NOT go to events that aren’t on the list unless you clear them with me individually before you go to the concert.)