Saeed: It’s more than theoretical


Tim Saeed

Tim Saeed and his wife Natalyia in Kiev

Assistant Professor Timothy Saeed has joined the Department of Fine and Performing Arts following a semester-long search last year.
Prior to arriving at JSC, Saeed has gone all over the country to obtain his various degrees: a Ph.D. in Music Theory from Louisiana State University in 2014, an M.M. in Piano Performance from University of New Mexico in 2009, an M.M. in Music Theory from Boston University in 2004 and a B.M. in Piano Performance from University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in 2001.
Saeed is familiar with the Northeast, which made JSC all the more attractive.
“I spent a couple of years in Boston working on my Master’s and fell in love with the Northeast,” he said. “Having grown up in California, I really enjoyed the different seasons and the vibrant atmosphere of the area. When finishing my Ph.D. program in Louisiana, I was very happy to discover a job opening here at Johnson State College. It was an excellent opportunity for me to pursue my path in the area that inspires me for professional growth. Also my wife, Nataliya, is working on her graduate degree at the University of Maine in Orono, so Johnson would bring us closer geographically.”
He said that he was drawn in by the warmth and openness of the Johnson community.
“When I first arrived in the area, I was very impressed with how everyone was willing to help,” he said. “I find the JSC community very encouraging and supportive for professional growth and development. My transition from Louisiana has been very smooth thanks to the cooperation I felt from the community. I’m very much enjoying such a welcoming environment, and I hope with my music that I will be able to contribute to the community.”
Within his department, Saeed will be fulfilling several needs, mostly involving music theory. “I’m teaching and developing the music theory curriculum, which includes music theory, ear training and keyboard harmony,” he said.
Saeed’s expertise in curricular development will be key as his department continues curricular development in music theory, according to Assistant Professor Bethany Plissey, co-chair of the Fine and Performing Arts department.
“He’s helping to build the curriculum for the music theory program, which we had not fully laid out and put on paper, so that’s part of our process for this year,” she said. “He’s completely rewriting the first-year theory program. He’s also teaching the second-year music theory and keyboard harmony components.”
Plissey said that both Saeed’s musical knowledge and his general attitude contributed to his hiring.
“Tim is an extremely nice person,” she said. “He’s really very professional and easy to get along with, so he’s a nice addition to our program. He’s teaching music theory primarily to music majors, and that’s a really hard subject when students first come in. We wanted somebody who would be a really good teacher with solid training and pedagogy of teaching music theory. Tim’s knowledge as a theoretician is very strong. He also has really strong piano skills, which is something that we really wanted.”
Saeed said that one of his main goals here is to maintain a good dynamic between teachers and students. “I hope to maintain a productive dialog between the department and the student community,” Saeed said. “Through my devotion to JSC, I would like to help students get prepared for their professional growth beyond their degree. I would be very happy if I could inspire students to keep an interest in music throughout their lives, whether or not they are pursuing music professionally.”
Saeed said that aside from music and teaching, he loves ethnic foods, something increasingly available in the Burlington area.
“Although I have never traveled to the Middle East, my background reveals itself through my love of Persian and Lebanese food,” he said. “Also, I would love to travel to India someday. I’m intrigued by the Indian culture and I find Indian cuisine very colorful and flavorful.”