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Dr. David Laganella

Department Chair and Professor of Music

Why I Teach

Music is an essential course of study in the career of any student. It is an important step towards expanding their intellectual, social, and emotional horizons. Examining and defining the principles of this uniquely abstract art form will challenge a student’s thought process and better prepare them to grasp other types analytical concepts in the course of their academic careers. A student who has an appreciation and understanding of music will have skills that will contribute to their development of becoming independent, critical thinkers with a deep appreciation for all art.

For Wesley Music majors, I strongly encourage my students to find their own voice in their music. It is important that I provide my students the skills to make evaluations about their work to ensure success in their future compositions and performances. Students who finish studying with me will have a solid foundation in the concepts of composition and technology. They will be knowledgeable of a wide and varied repertoire that includes Popular Music, Classical and Jazz.

Professional Activities

My professional expertises are in Modern Classical Music, Improvisation and American Popular Music. As a composer, my music has been performed by many leading artists and ensembles including The American Composers Orchestra, The Prism Quartet, Network for New Music, The Da Capo Chamber Players, Symphony in C (winner of their annual composer competition) and the Serafin String Quartet. My music has been featured at diverse venues, from New York City Rock clubs to Carnegie Hall and has been featured at John Zorn’s New Rock Complexity Festival (NYC), the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Darmstadt New Music Festival (Germany), the World Saxophone Congress (United Kingdom) and with the Bergslagen Chamber Symphony Festival (Sweden) where I served as the Composer in Residence. The first recording of my chamber music, The Calls of Gravity is available on the New Focus Recordings label. My compositions have received awards and honors from numerous organizations including ASCAP, Meet the Composer Fund, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The American Composers Forum, The Orchestra Society of Philadelphia and The Society of Composers Inc.

I hold a Performance Certificate in electric guitar from Berklee College of Music and regularly perform with many Philadelphia based Jazz, Rock and Blues bands. I am a strong advocate of the electric guitar as a serious choice for composers of contemporary Classical music. I am the author of the book, The Composer’s Guide to the Electric Guitar (available from Mel Bay Publications), which is a manual addressing all performance practices and notational issues for the instrument.


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • B.M., New York University

Courses Taught

  • MU101 Aural Skills 1
  • MU102 Aural Skills 2
  • MU103 Music Theory 1
  • MU104 Music Theory 2
  • MU115 Contemporary Ensemble
  • MU128 History of Rock and Roll
  • MU146 Applied Guitar
  • MU200 Jazz: The American Musical Venture
  • MU208 History and Literature of Music 1
  • MU209 History and Literature of Music 2
  • MU211 Computers and Music Technology

Contact Information