I love to teach students of all ages. I have extensive experience (35+ years) as a professional pianist and piano teacher, and a music degree from UCLA in Music Composition (minor in Piano Performance). I also have a Master's degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and enjoy tutoring students in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin (I also tutor in French and Spanish!). I won the top entering freshman award at UCLA for academic achievement and have continued my studies in English, math, a... [more]
Precocious in math, David Foster began seeking out the "mysteries" of algebra in an advanced self-paced, individualized sixth grade class at his New Jersey grammar school. By the time Algebra I was offered at his California high school, David had already learned much of the curriculum through previous study. A Bank of America math scholarship awarded to him certified his achievements. As a math major at UCLA, David continued to take courses using extensive algebra--receiving top grades for his efforts. One of his great joys has been seeing his algebra pupils penetrate the "mysteries" of what had so awed and scared them while still unknown! In his tutoring, David seeks to impart overall structural comprehension as well as encouragement in such particular algebraic skills as function graphing, factoring, equation-solving, word problems, and more.
As a high school student in Algebra 2, David F. set the bar with each test, often scoring 100%. This led to informal "teaching" of his fellow students, breaking down the concepts so that they too could understand the mathematical principles involved. Later, as a math major at UCLA, David continued to excel in algebra and began to tutor in Algebra 2. More than thirty years of tutoring this subject has given him insight into many transferable concepts, whereby he relates new and potentially daunting Algebra 2 concepts to readily comprehensible life experiences (e.g., the pertinence of trigonometric ratios to everyday problems, not limited to surveying!).
David entered UCLA as a Math major--and received a 97% on his Honors Calculus final in the first quarter there! Since he started the class with an uncharacteristically low test score of C-, ending with an A+ and acing the final was a dramatic turnaround. This came about through diligent effort to teach himself Calculus, since the teacher was well nigh undecipherable in his presentation! Since then, he has led many math students from the very beginning stages of arithmetic through the "high altitudes" of Calculus I, II, III (college level) and beyond. His gift in teaching math is clarity, patience, and the ability to present "difficult" concepts in a straightforward and easily understood manner. He has a passion to help struggling students overcome mathematical challenges and strongly grasp mathematical concepts and structure.
At the top of his chemistry class in high school, David often scored 100% on tests and finals, helping other students as needed to achieve their best as well. After all A's in science at UCLA, David continued to learn and teach chemistry (eventually to his five sons as well). He is currently assisting several students in basic, AP, and college chem.
David began his lifelong study of French at the age of 12! After two years of French in junior high school, he took four long years of French in high school. By the end of this time, he was reading classic French novels straight through, having devoured French grammar and syntax. After acceptance into UCLA, David continued to pursue French; as an entering freshman he tested into French 6! It was here at UCLA that he got his first good dose of conversational French. This continued, as he has been married to his French-Canadian wife since the age of 25, bringing a whole host of French-speaking relatives with whom to practice. To this day, David enjoys reading and speaking French as well as tutoring those who are learning the language.
David F.'s fascination with computers began with the early versions of Radio Shack's TRS-80, and deepened as he tinkered with early IBM PC's and Apple machines. David took A+ Certification courses for several years, giving him a good basic knowledge of computer software and hardware. He has continued to work with and troubleshoot hardware and software problems for family and friends, maintaining and upgrading his General Computer knowledge while imparting this knowledge to others (including beginners!).
Geometry can be a forbidding subject for many new students. One reason is geometry's emphasis on logical reasoning and proofs, so neglected in many a math student's progress until their encounter with geometry. David F. delights in introducing each new student to the practical and essential world of geometry with gentleness and patience. David's favorite high school subject, and one in which he excelled, was Geometry. He has continued to hone his skills through courses in geometry at UCLA while majoring in math. His geometry students have been well equipped for more difficult math ahead of them, math which demands so much geometric skill and logical reasoning.
Prealgebra is the bridge between proficiency in basic mathematics and the foundational algebra that enables most math beyond. Prealgebra can be a joyous experience of guided discovery or a nail-biting experience of confusion depending on the guide leading the student through the subject. David Foster has been tutoring in prealgebra for almost 40 years. He was tutoring fellow students informally while in 8th grade! He has continued to tutor both professionally and pro bono since his four years at UCLA (where he majored in Math). Many of his former pupils have continued on with "A+" work through high school and college work in more advanced mathematics. With David Foster as a guide, the journey through prealgebra can be a pleasant and gratifying experience!
It has been a joy to tutor several individual students all the way through the maze of general mathematics, from the basics of arithmetic through precalculus and on to Calculus I-III and beyond, all at an A+ level. I have also helped many others through various stages of this same mathematical odyssey. I am particularly interested in helping make difficult concepts emerge from obscurity to the light of day by patiently helping each individual student build on their strengths and confront their weaknesses with increasing confidence and skill.
David F. enjoys tutoring Latin (and Greek and Hebrew!), especially beginning students. He has worked with novices in Latin for the last 10 years, often at their request continuing with them for a year or longer, as their understanding of and appreciation for the historic Latin language increase. The fine points of grammatical structure, when understood, can remove obstacles to enjoyable reading of the classics!
After composing his own music in high school, David won a Frank Sinatra award (presented by Sinatra himself) for an original jazz solo piano composition. He graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in Music Composition (minor in classical piano performance). He has since taught many private students the intricacies of music theory, and also taught music theory at Cogswell, a private institution of higher learning in the Silicon Valley of California.
Government & Politics
Extensive studies in Arabic and Russian history topped off David Foster's world history minor. These were just part of his upper division course work which he completed while at UCLA. David's later global travels to Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, have added depth to his grasp of cultures. Staying with locals in their homes while traveling has given him sensitivity to the differences in perspective that exist within the vast subject of World History. Several long-term students tutored by David have credited their multi-year study of World History with David as giving them a solid foundation upon which they could build a lifetime appreciation of history. For example one of David's previous students recently visited his home, bringing history DVD's purchased from a museum to watch with David. While viewing these historical documentaries together, the former student freely expressed his own passion for history, a passion ignited while under David's tutelage.
Having helped many students achieve significant improvement on their ACT scores for many years, including English, David offers a unique one-to-one experience tailored to the needs of each student. His approach garnered him a top high school senior in Northern California four-year scholarship from P, G, & E, as well as the top entering freshman award ( Dykstra ) from the UCLA Alumni Association.
From math haters to math lovers--David has helped students from across the spectrum of math skills to perform at their highest level on the ACT. His own impressive set of college scholarships included a Bank of America scholarship at the regional level for Math, as well an almost perfect score on his Honors Calculus final while a student at UCLA. It is his long experience, however, guiding and teaching ACT test-takers that singles him out as a tutor delivers top-drawer results.
A strong foundation in elementary math allows a sturdy superstructure of more advanced math to be built with confidence and skill. It is often cracks in this "foundation" of elementary math, gaps in basic math skills, that cause later attempts at learning math to become uncertain and confusing. I have enjoyed tutoring elementary math students for over 35 years. I take special delight in seeing the "fog" of mathematical confusion disappear as the rays of understanding and insight break through...confidence replacing uncertainty. Even as a math major at UCLA in Honors Calculus, I still found the solid foundation in elementary math I had received so many years before enabling me; even the most advanced math often requires the most basic of math skills in order to solve problems and grasp concepts.
I was a top ear training student in my music classes at UCLA. I have taught ear training to many students for over 35 years--helping even students who thought they were "tone deaf." When I taught at Cogswell Polytechnical College recently, part of the mandated curriculum was a complete course in ear training. I can sight-read and sight-sing music, hearing it first in my mind's ear; and when listening to music can create a mental score that I can then transcribe and/or realize at the piano.
As part of David Foster's graduate program while obtaining his Master of Divinity in Berkeley, California, he received graduate level training in the education of young children as well as studying child development. Since obtaining his master's degree in 1987, David has continuously instructed and tutored K-6 children in phonics, math, reading, English grammar, French and Spanish, music and more. His students have been primarily tutored in independent study, but his teaching has also included classroom instruction.
I received a BA in Music Composition from UCLA. I have been an active professional musician (pianist and composer) and teacher (most recently at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, California, teaching Music Theory, Ear Training, and Keyboard Skills). While at UCLA, I studied with the world-renowned master teacher Aube Tzerko for five years. He was a star pupil of Artur Schnabel and the teacher of Misha Dichter. I have been commended personally by Frank Sinatra, Carol Burnett, Steve Allen and by famous musicians such as Dave Grusin and Dave Koz. As well as accompanying singers (solo and choral) and dancers, I have had a successful solo piano career. I enjoy teaching all aspects of music and continue learning and growing myself, as I believe strongly that that contributes to the freshness of my own teaching.
I have had professional training in phonics at UCLA, working with phonics experts in English, Italian, and German. I have also done extensive continuing education in this field. It is a joy for me to coach students in phonics--both verbally and in written form--as preparation for effective speaking and reading. I have successfully tutored students in phonics ranging in age from 2 years old to over 70 years of age.
I have been playing the piano professionally for 38 years and teaching the piano professionally for 37 years. I was a student of the master teacher Aube Tzerko for 5 years at UCLA; maestro Tzerko was a top pupil and assistant to the great virtuoso Artur Schnabel--going back just three more teachers brings us to Ludwig van Beethoven (through Leschetizky and Czerny). I won an award presented to me personally by Frank Sinatra for an original jazz piano solo composition which I performed for him. Pianist Dave Grusin and saxophonist Dave Koz were also members of bands in which I played while at the Aspen Music Festival (I was selected three summers to attend). I have played classical and jazz piano, but also rock, Broadway, and pop music for over 30 years in San Francisco at Sinbad's Restaurant. I love to teach piano to individual students and see them blossom musically.
From kindergarten through the end of four years undergraduate study at UCLA, I received all A's in every subject*...I know how to study! I have a BA from UCLA, and a Master's degree from CDSP; during those years of study, I developed a system of study that works for the breakdown of ANY subject. There is no "secret" to this system, just the systematic application of basic learning principles put into practice; anyone can "learn how to learn." I enjoy sharing this knowledge with others, and seeing them apply in their own unique way these enduring principles to achieve lasting scholastic results.
I began tutoring discrete math privately four years ago, drawing on my background as a UCLA math major. I have been enjoying using all my years of experience in probability, statistics, and other math tutoring to help students in discrete math succeed in this challenging course. Even excellent math students often find themselves stretched to capacity in this highly diverse and sometimes exotic branch of mathematics. One of my greatest fulfillments has been to see failing students restored to passing grades!
My Master of Divinity degree from CDSP in Berkeley, California included studies in Biblical Greek. In the 25+ years since my degree, I have both studied and tutored Biblical Greek successfully (taken beginners with no knowledge of Greek, and brought them to capable reading of the Greek New Testament). Note carefully: I am NOT a scholar of Modern Greek, and have only passable skills in Ancient Greek; my specialty is the Greek of the New Testament, Koine Greek.
CBEST testing probes for competence in basic math, reading, and writing skills. I have been successfully tutoring students in those skills for over 40 years! In addition, my long and varied experience in teaching test prep materials gives me an extra advantage in teaching to the test itself with strategies tailored to the needs of each test-taker.
As a part of the requirements for entrance to many independent schools, the ISEE tests Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement and also grades a half-hour essay. The skills needed to do well on this exam are the very skills I have been honing for many years, both in graduate school and empirically with private students.
David Foster studied logic while an undergraduate at UCLA, and continued studies in logic and philosophy while earning his Master of Divinity at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He continues to tutor logic and critical reasoning to this day, thirty years later. David enjoys the rigor of critical thinking as applied to many different disciplines, and is thrilled to see his pupils gain mastery of sound reasoning skills.
Praxis Core testing in reading, writing, and mathematics parallels other ETS offerings. I have successfully tutored for more than 40 years in these basic test prep subjects. I believe that excellent exam preparation does not depend on gimmicks, but on time-tested strategies. Post-graduate studies in education in Berkeley, supplemented by long experience in helping test-takers maximize their scores and achieve their goals, have afforded me exceptional qualifications for assisting Praxis test-takers.
The Regents examinations test proficiency and gauge achievement in mathematics, English, and other core subjects, each of which has been a specialty of mine in forty plus years of tutoring and teaching. I am poised to help Regents test examinees to reach their highest scores.
I have tutored test prep subjects for the last 40 years, and specifically helped many students achieve success in all the TEAS subject areas. There are a number of strategies that have enabled me to successfully transmit my own abilities at acing standardized tests (my college education at UCLA was completely funded by a combination of diverse scholarships, all of which commented on my top performance on standardized tests as a major factor in winning the awards). I continued to learn as a test-taker and also in the impartation of knowledge tested in TEAS while in graduate school in Berkeley, where I obtained my Master's degree.
While majoring in music composition at UCLA, David Foster took a minor in history (studying many aspects of world history, but concentrating on Russian history and the history of Islam). He pursued his historical studies into the ancient world while a graduate student at Church Divinity School of the Pacific; a demonstrated competence in the history of the cultures mentioned in the Bible (including the cultures of the ancient Near East, the Greek and Roman Empires) as well as the cultures of medieval and modern Europe was part of the degree process. A continuing fascination with cultures and languages has marked David's life: trips to Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, and interactions in their native tongue with French-speaking Quebecois, Spanish-speaking Mexicans and Dominicans and Salvadoreans, Amharic-speaking Ethiopians to name a few (others include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and others). This rich diversity of study and travel, friendships and scholarship, make David Foster an excellent tutor in social studies.
The fluency in the English language probed for in the IELTS is key to opening doors to work and study in many English-speaking countries. It is thus a joy and privilege to come alongside other to help them on this journey. For over 40 years, I have been using my graduate-level training to assist non-native speakers of the English language to attain the fluency required by the IELTS.
Finite math is a veritable potpourri of seemingly unrelated (or distantly related) math topics, all of which stop short of the calculus. As such, it can present a bewildering array to the unsuspecting student taking what may have been required as an elementary or introductory math course. From my days as a UCLA Math major, I have been able to access all the knowledge and skill necessary to help the finite math student; one such current student in the public school system raised her grade from a B to a D after several months of my private tutelage in the subject.
Reading, writing, mathematics, and science levels are tested by the STAAR battery of tests--these very test subjects have been the foundation of my teaching and preparing students for more than several decades. It is a great joy to help students clear these hurdles and demonstrate their academic qualifications to the state of Texas.
Common Core generates controversy, with many passionate advocates and detractors seeking to promote or oppose the educational plan. In the midst of all the arguments, students under Common Core in their local schools still need to learn their math, science, English, and other basic subjects. I have been tutoring Common Core students for several years now, and working successfully within its guidelines to help students achieve competency and excellence in their assigned subjects.