Alumnus Returns to DBU as Music Professor: Dr. Uriah Rinzel

Uriah Rinzel

“My role is to challenge students to continue to strive for excellence in their craft by teaching them skills, by instilling in them high artistic standards, and encouraging them to grow in self-confidence in their craft and for their lives,” says Dr. Uriah Rinzel who serves as Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Composition, and Songwriting in the College of Fine Arts. 

When he was 16, his father - who played in rock bands in the '70s - bought him his first electric guitar. Soon after, Dr. Rinzel started his own rock band with school friends and also began playing for his church. He says, “carrying my violin or guitar on the bus was a natural conversation starter.” When asked by his bus driver what he’d like to do as a career, Dr. Rinzel confidently responded, “I want to be a musician.”

Determined to make his dreams a reality, Dr. Rinzel worked throughout his high school years to learn as much as he could about scales, chords, improvisation, patch-work, and songwriting. He recalls that when he received his first acoustic guitar, he “couldn’t put it down.” Dr. Rinzel had found his calling, and it was not something he took lightly.

After high school, Dr. Rinzel began his personal journey of pursuing an extensive music education. He received an Advanced Diploma in Worship and Technical Arts from Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI). While at CFNI, Dr. Rinzel joined the praise band and quickly learned how to memorize diverse set lists of worship and gospel songs and deepened his improvisation skills. 

Transferring to DBU as an undergraduate student, he received his Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition in 2012 with hopes of one day teaching collegiate musicians. Following this, Dr. Rinzel attended SMU where he obtained both his Master of Music in Composition and his Master of Music in Theory Pedagogy. More recently, he completed his Doctorate in Musical Arts in Composition from TCU in 2019.

When Dr. Rinzel was first brought on board at DBU as an adjunct professor, he taught Advanced Songwriting Techniques, an upper level music business course. Now as a full-time faculty member, he teaches courses mainly in music theory but also instructs in the areas of applied composition and music business. His strategy through the courses he teaches is to “equip each student with a modern take on comprehensive musicianship, including engagement with the main streams of music study: classical, jazz, and pop; and relating them to the technical side as well: acoustics, signal processing, and digital audio."

"My role as instructor in Christian higher education is to model, challenge, and mentor," Dr. Rinzel continues. "My role is to model excellence in artistry, a professional output that engages culture and character befitting a Christian leader.” He expresses that, though he loves teaching in class, the most fulfilling part of his role takes place during lessons and office hours. “Being able to encourage, challenge, and help students find their way is a large part of why teaching at DBU isn’t just a job for me, it’s a vocation.”

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Rinzel is hard at work creating unique musical styles of his own. His original music covers a variety of different styles, genres, and instrumentation. All of Dr. Rinzel’s music, though, is bonded by one main goal: “to engage the relationship between my classical background and training with rock and pop music.”

Dr. Rinzel met his wife, Abby, at Gateway Church where he served in the worship department from 2008-2018. They were married at Hunter’s Glen Baptist Church in Plano in 2015. Together, the Rinzel family has one son, Michael, who is nearly two years old. The family now partners with Venture Church in Keller.

Written by Emmalie Ellis

Emmalie Ellis writes for University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.