Darrell Vernum
Austin, TX
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Darrell Vernum

Darrell V.

Austin, TX
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
All styles; soprano, alto, tenor, baritone

About Darrell V.

Why these lessons are different:
- Formally trained conductor/composer/producer
- Individual or group session options including full band production
- A long roster of satisfied clients
- Broad base of musical styles (rock, classical, jazz, blues, metal, bluegrass, folk, theater, big band, symphonic, pop, punk, country, march, gospel, avant-garde...)
- Over 30 yrs teaching experience and work with recognized professionals including work in some of the top-rated private schools in the United States
- Over 40 years performing experience

Instrument-specific instruction:
- Voice
- Guitar [Spanish, acoustic, electric]
- Electric Bass
- Piano/Keyboard
- Woodwinds [specializing in saxophones]
- Percussion
- Brass & Bowed Strings [performance preparation only]

My process is based on (but does not adhere strictly to) the Classical approach to Western tonal harmony and asks that the students develop certain fundamentals of technique and theory. In my experience, this structure creates the strongest foundation for pupils to build the rest of their musical lives on, whether professionally or solely for personal enjoyment. All of my students are on the fast track to studying music theory. Whatever level they are at when I start with them, I guide their efforts into bringing the students up to a certain level of comprehension regarding the mathematical aspects of music and how it relates to their instruments. This understanding of theoretical principles of sound allows the students to play any style of music they wish, no matter how their tastes may change throughout their lives.

Curriculum Gradation:
Elements of rhythm
Elements of pitch
Elements of dynamics
Elements of articulation
Reading/Writing notation
Tone development
Finding/Expanding your range
Dexterity, speed, and accuracy
How to project
How to advance to the next level
Music theory
Playing by ear
Improvisational techniques
Finding your signature style
Project Management


Write a Review
26 Reviews
Aviv C.

Good instructor

Posted Oct 12, 2019
Frank S.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Darrell helped me a lot to get a handle on my Ableton rig. I needed to set up midi tracks, locate presets to create cool sounds from plugins. Then I needed to export the audio of a couple of those tracks to import into a separate Pro Tools project. Lot of progress, thanks Darrell! -- Frank S

Posted Sep 13, 2019
Natalie Watson
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Absolutely loved the lesson and loved Darrell. He made me feel very comfortable and made the lesson fun. I learned a lot and really am looking forward to the next ones. Very excited to be embarking on this new venture in my life.

Posted Jun 18, 2019
Trien B.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Darrelia a good teacher. He is very knowledgeable and fun to work with. We would like to book him for a next 5 weeks.

Posted Mar 4, 2019
Harvill W.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Gave detailed assignments/homework to help learn reading script music. Great insight into stumbling blocks to avoid. Measured my effective voice range. Easy to get along with and very encouraging to a basic beginner. I told him I understand why his students gave him rave reviews.

Posted Feb 18, 2019
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Just completed another project with Dr D and I'm always impressed with his work ethic. His arrangement and production skills are top notch.
George Coyne, Parrot Tracks Studio

Posted Jul 20, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

The smell of smoke was intense. My son didn’t feel comfortable.

Posted Jul 9, 2018
Dulcie C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My 16 year old son loves his lessons with Darrell and looks forward to them every week. He'd been taking guitar lessons elsewhere that were okay-ish, but this is so much more. Darrell is great, not only does he get along with and make my son want to learn, but at the same time they are working on voice, he is also teaching keyboard and working on the guitar! We really couldn't have asked for a better instructor.

Posted Dec 27, 2017
Clark W.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

First lesson. So far, so good!

Posted Oct 2, 2017
Kamili O.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Good first lesson! Enthusiastic....

Posted Sep 12, 2017
Carter O.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Carter loved him!

Posted Sep 12, 2017
Jackson Smith

Doctor D. has an intimate knowledge of music theory, as well as a tried and true method that allows students to learn quickly while having fun in the process. He sincerely strives to bring out the best in his students, and that effort is reflected in his results.

Posted May 9, 2017
Profile-location-online Online

yesterday was my first vocal lesson with Darrell. he is definitely one cool dude. My first impression is that he is very thorough. I like that we are starting from the ground up learning fundamentals. it is noteworthy that I am blind. I only say this because from the get-go he was open minded to adapt the session where we needed. I look forward to my upcoming lessons.

Posted Feb 24, 2017
Margaret L.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I was amazed at how much Darrell knew and was able to impart in just 45 minutes. He assessed my level in less than 5 minutes, then used every second to incorporate and expand what I already knew into organized concepts It seemed like a staggering amount of information, yet I never felt rushed or overwhelmed. I'm really looking forward to next week!

Posted Feb 8, 2017
Brian Taylor

Darrell is hands down a phenomal coach and teacher. I was looking for a vocal coach, but was hoping to find someone with expert knowledge in a diverse range of instruments, theory, song composition and arrangement, and audio production. Darrell does all of this and more. Moreover his approach is direct and encouraging, with an emphasis on pushing to you to become your best. I look forward to every lesson. Recommend 100%.

Posted Jan 10, 2017
Maggie Zhu

Darrell is doing a great job getting me back to my piano journey (after 20 years!). The exercises and theory he is teaching me have helped me getting a deeper understanding of music and looking at piano from a different perspective. I've learned a lot just after two lessons. The daily practice was challenging and fun. Looking forward to my upcoming sessions.

Posted Nov 11, 2016
Michelle Hope

Darrell- Has great mix of business professionalism and a wonderful manner with both children and adults. He has worked with our family on schedule and had taught a range of ages (5 to45) and instruments. Piano and Guitar.

Posted Sep 28, 2016
Micah Antill

Great teacher. Going onto my 6th session.

Posted Sep 26, 2016
Jack Moore

Darrell has been very consistent and helpful in teaching my 2 kids piano and guitar.

Posted Sep 19, 2016
Elliott Richards

When I had my first lesson with Darrell, I was a complete beginner. Being a beginner is never easy, in fact it is usually quite discouraging. Bearing this in mind, Darrell is an outstanding teacher. He is one of the most encouraging teachers I've ever had, which speaks volumes knowing I am a high school graduate and a rising college Sophomore. Darrell is the kind of teacher that wants to see you succeed in your learning more than you probably want to see yourself succeed, which is exactly what you need when you get frustrated or doubtful. Darrell keeps a serious focus in the classroom, whilst keeping the lesson fun and lighthearted. I can truly say I am very happy picking Darrell as my teacher, and look forward to the many lessons yet to come.

Posted Jun 22, 2016
Mia Markey

Student says: "Mr. D. does a good job of explaining and demonstrating. Violin lessons are fun."

Posted Apr 11, 2016
hobo rowboat

Dr. D lives and breathes music. If you’re a musician with even the smallest kindling of desire to learn, he will light a fire under you and you will grow as an artist, musician, and writer. I’ve worked with him mostly in a band setting where he worked as our band director. I’ve also witnessed his vocal lesson work first hand with a friend of mine. Within a year the student he was was working with went from being a beginner with no theory knowledge to a jazzy sort of Gene Autry with a style built on a foundation of music theory. With his encouragement, raw enthusiasm, and know-how she gained what seemed like a lifetime of music knowledge, performing ability, and confidence in the matter of a year. I’ve also worked with Dr. D in a recording and producing setting. He has the equipment and the ability to make professional and marketable recordings, and his artistic input on these recordings has been invaluable. If I wasn’t touring all the time, I’d be working with him every chance I got. I still do whenever I make it back to Austin. Dr. D is quickly becoming an essential figure in the live music capital of the world.

Posted Mar 22, 2016
p rao

Dr. D teaches guitar to both our kids. He is well versed in music theory, styles and has functional knowledge of other cultural styles. He has demonstrated time again the ability to refocus our two teens who can be easily distracted during teaching sessions. They have shown progress over the last year and half that is twice that they had previously achieved in over 3 years of learning. While being direct in artistic feedback he is able to connect with the kids at their level to push them to a higher plane of finesse in using music theory and applying this to compositions they are undergoing training in. He does not compromise on quality of learning and does not hesitate to put in additional runs at practice or extra time till they get it right. He always starts with 'what's the progress and do you have any questions?" this essentially covers adequately the gap between learning sessions and the chance for the kids to pause and pick up anything they have not yet mastered. A unique touch was a duet that Dr. D got the kids to master over several weeks of patience with them, which now is an admired piece in our family gatherings (showing off their talents to the relatives/friends). He is very reasonable with time off requests for summer/spring vacations as well. We are very fortunate to have made his acquaintance as a teacher for our kids.

Posted Mar 22, 2016
Mark Funderburk

"Dr. D" has been an instrumental (pardon the pun!) part of my musical journey over the last few years. Originally, I came to him to improve my guitar playing. But along the way, his role morphed from that of a guitar instructor to one that incuded producing, voice instruction, song writing partner, and more. Prior to working with him, I'd never performed in public. But, with his guidance and support, I overcame life-long stage fright and am now singing/playing regularly in front of an audience. If you're serious about becoming a better musician and want to be challenged to reach your goals, Dr. D is your man!

Posted Mar 21, 2016
Rick Allen

When I was third trumpet Dr D was the Drum Major. Our marching and field show bands under NY legend David Bournazian won many local and state competitions. I was just happy to be part of it, but Dr. D was leading it. He has deep knowledge of music theory and is equally expert at improvisation. His ability to communicate theory to beginners or higher level learners is amazing. He has the unique skill of being able to make complex concepts seem simple with illustrative examples until you find yourself starting to 'get it'. Highly recommended.

Posted Mar 21, 2016
Andy Gallo

My middle-school aged son did a two hour session with Dr. Darrell one day where I would venture to say they covered a month's worth of music theory material. After a while I got tired listening to it, but my son didn't. Darrell is patient yet firm, tough but caring. The pairing of Darrell's deep knowledge with a student who wants to learn is a powerful combination. He is committed to the success of his students.

Posted Mar 21, 2016

Photos & Videos

3 Photos & Videos


Jan 1998 - Present

Multimedia Company

Solo and ensemble Preparation and direction for stage and studio Production of records and demos


Music Composition & Conducting
Sep 1987 - May 1989

Fredonia School of Music



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Health & Safety Services Instructor, Professional Level
Jan 2007

American Red Cross


NYSSMA Grade 6A+
May 1987

New York State School Music Association


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
Feb 2017
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

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