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Tobias Rush

Associate Professor; Music Theory; Aural Skills; Technology; Composition; Coordinator of Music Composition Program; Chair of the Department of Music

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Music


Email: Tobias Rush
Phone: 937-229-3917
FH 475A


  • Ph.D., Theory and Composition, University of Northern Colorado, 2007
  • M.M., Theory and Composition, University of Northern Colorado, 1998
  • B.A., Music Education, Adams State University, 1996


An active pedagogue and technologist, Toby Rush currently serves as associate professor of music theory and technology at the University of Dayton. He received his Doctor of Arts in Theory and Composition from the University of Northern Colorado in 2007, where he studied with R. Evan Copley and Jonathan Bellman. His dissertation and secondary project included an analysis of the third piano concerto of Bohuslav Martinů, an original composition for piano and orchestra, and a multimedia software program exploring the mathematical theory behind the music of Classical Greece.

Dr. Rush's research interests include applications of educational technology and new media for music studies, interface design, and music theory and aural skills pedagogy. His pedagogical materials have garnered worldwide acclaim, and include Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People, a set of more than 50 innovative theory review sheets. Recent software projects include Braille Music Notator, an online system for assisting sighted musicians to easily create elegant braille music scores. His compositions have been performed by student and professional ensembles throughout the southwest United States.

Dr. Rush has been recognized as Outstanding Faculty at the University of Northern Colorado, where he was also a two-time recipient of the Recognition for Commitment to Excellence in Teaching. He served for seven years as the co-director of the Rocky Mountain Music Technology Workshop. He is a member of CMS, ATMI, MENC and OMEA, and maintains an active role in the local music education community.

Faculty perspective

"Whether it’s a baroque oratorio or a thumping, synthy dance track, I believe that any piece of music that stirs your emotion is worthy of study. I love that at UD, we embrace not only a broad, vibrant spectrum of music, but a wide range of musical perspectives, methods of analysis and critique, and points of view. If you are moved by a piece of music, regardless of your skill level, experience or background, your thoughts and feelings about it are worth hearing … and I can’t wait to listen."

Professional activities

  • Technology Committee Chair, Music Theory Midwest
  • Member, Publications Committee, Music Theory Midwest

Research interests

  • Music Theory and Aural Skills Pedagogy
  • Braille Music Notation
  • Universal Design in Pedagogy
  • Web Application Development
  • Computer Interface Design

Courses taught

  • MUS 211: Theory of Music III
  • MUS 212: Theory of Music IV

Selected publications

Selected presentations

“Music-inators: An Open-Source Javascript Library for Creating Interactive Pedagogical Materials,” Joint Meeting of the Music Informatics Interest Group and Music Theory Pedagogy Interest Group, Society of Music Theory Annual Conference, Denver, Nov. 11, 2023

“Teaching the New Common Practice Period: Embracing Modern Studio Production in the Theory and Aural Skills Curriculum,” Music Theory Midwest Annual Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 6, 2023

“Braille Music Notator: Cross-Modal Issues in Literacy, Perception, and Pedagogy,” International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, Online, July 28, 2021