The composer, improviser, and double bassist Dave Morgan has collaborated with a wide range of jazz, pop and classical artists. His most recent recording is "Blue Is More Than A Color" Morgan was a recipient of a “New Works: Creation and Presentation" grant from Chamber Music America, which resulted in his recording, The Way of the Sly Man, featuring Jack Schantz, Howie Smith, Jamey Haddad, and Dan Wall. Morgan also composed the music for The Surprise of Being—Live at Birdland by the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano. A Tri-C Jazz Fest concert of Morgan’s transcriptions and arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa for the Jazz Unit featuring Ernie Watts and Mark Wood earned an Award of Achievement from Northern Ohio Live. He performed this music as guest artist with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra in December 2012. Morgan collaborates in crossover projects with Apollo’s Fire, the Internationally-acclaimed Baroque ensemble, and occasionally performs with The Cleveland Orchestra as a jazz bassist and bass guitarist. The American Wind Symphony Orchestra has commissioned several pieces, including “Colors of Your Dreams,” “Reflections and Mediations”, and “The Art of Seven.” Several of Morgan’s orchestral pieces are recorded on Centaur Records. The YSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble directed by Stephen Gage has released "Made In Youngstown" which includes three of his compositions for wind ensemble, featuring several YSU faculty members as guest soloists. 

I teach composition, improvisation and bass at Youngstown State University. If you'd like more information about our programs, contact me via email. Here's a quick outline of the composition and bass programs:


 Inspiration is merely the reward for working every day. (Maurice Ravel )

The composition program at the Dana School of Music focuses on exploration of the creative process and the nature and meaning of music. Composition majors acquire a breadth of knowledge and a solid technique in the service of finding a personal path. Compositional technique involves the ability to capture fleeting sound ideas and the process of shaping these ideas into coherent musical forms. Instruction involves identifying and cultivating the individual voice of each composer while simultaneously undertaking a rigorous exploration of the vast possibilities of melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, timbre, text setting and form. 

There are many paths available for the composer of today, including composing and arranging for instrumental ensembles of various sizes, creating electronic music, and song writing. It is crucial for the composer to listen to and learn music from a wide array of genres and styles. The composition major will develop powerful and versatile tools to bring to any creative situation, facilitating satisfying artistic choices free of technical or imaginative limitations.

The newly-revised B.M. in Music Composition curriculum allows students to focus on both composition and performing, provides hand-on experience with many instruments, and includes courses in recording and technology. The goal is to enable motivated and curious young musicians to become versatile and proficient artists who can thrive in today’s music industry. Our alumni have gone on to enjoy exciting careers in many aspects of the industry, to attain advanced degrees from leading graduate programs, to teach music at the secondary and university levels, and to win prestigious awards and significant grants. 

Contact me ( with inquiries and audition information.

Double Bass 

The role of the bass is essentially the same in all styles and genres of music. Whether Beethoven, Bebop or James Brown, the bass provides the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of the music. In the Dana bass studio, we respect and study bass playing from all traditions. This systematic study of rich musical traditions develops bassists who can thrive in any musical environment, and who are ready to embrace new opportunities as they arise.

Developing great ears, a strong sense of rhythm, and excellent sight reading skills forms the foundation of the pedagogy. Being a bass major also requires the commitment and discipline necessary to build powerful and flexible technical facility that is always in the service of the music. We emphasize learning to play in an efficient and healthy manner, in order to prevent injury and facilitate a long career. We also prioritize identifying and developing the personal style of each individual. Since everyone comes to Dana with different experiences and goals, we customize the curriculum to encourage each bassist cultivate their own unique path, while simultaneously learning the repertoire and developing a strong skill set. 

 Music is ultimately a social activity, so it is essential to become a good citizen of the musical community. This includes developing musical and personal empathy, being dependable, being prepared, having a positive attitude, and communicating effectively. We are human beings first, musicians second, and bass players third. In the Dana bass studio we love music, help one another, work hard, and have fun! 

Audition Information 

Please prepare two or three pieces of contrasting styles. Play various scales and arpeggios. We may also ask you to sight read or play something by ear. Contact ( with any questions or concerns. 

Electric Bass 

Bass majors traditionally focus on the double bass and work through classical and jazz repertoire, while often doubling on electric bass. This is a very rich tradition and is great preparation for a professional career. It is also possible to major on electric bass. Contact Dr. Morgan ( for more information.