Directors Who Make a Difference
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SBO’s 16th annual “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” report once again shines the spotlight on an incredible array of outstanding music educators from every corner of the United States. From directors of programs with champion marching bands like Ken Turner of River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina to dedicated string teachers such as Elaine Sloane, who is in her 37th year at Radnor Middle School in Wayne, Pennsylvania, SBO readers have gone above and beyond in bringing forth the stories of the peers and mentors whom they admire.

Nominated by readers and selected by SBO’s editorial staff, this year’s report also provides the opportunity for a glimpse beyond the typical school music department, recognizing small programs like Gregory McCallum’s at Richmond (Va.) Community High School, an institution that focuses on gifted students from economically challenged backgrounds, and Cynthia Sibitzky’s work at Crawford Elementary School in Alaska, where she has been teaching music to the children of active duty service members at Eielson Air Force Base for nearly two decades.

Through questions about their proudest teaching moments, how they hope to make a difference in students’ lives, and their thoughts on the critical elements that lead to a successful career in education, the educators featured in this year’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” report present practical and insightful commentary gleaned over decades in the classroom. In addition, this feature also provides the chance to hear directly from some of the many wonderful people around the country who are actively fostering and inspiring future generations of musicians, music educators, and patrons of the arts.

 

ALABAMA

Connie Hammond

Thompson Middle School

Alabaster

Years at Current School: 13

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 270

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments as an educator come each year when a new group of students realize their goal of learning and performing music either by themselves or with a group. It is especially gratifying when a special needs child is accepted into the group and succeeds beyond their expectation. When a student tells me they want to teach band because of the passion for music they learned in my class, it lets me know that I am doing what I was called to do.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Giving my students the ability to read and perform music does more for them than just those skills. They gain confidence in themselves and their abilities as individuals and also as part of a group that is working toward a goal. Band students develop leadership skills through working with their peers. Life lessons learned in band such as discipline, sticking with your commitments, honesty, integrity, kindness, and acceptance are just a few of the things I hope my students gain from me.

Key to a successful career in music education: First of all, you must love what you do! When you wake up every day, you should be excited about the opportunities the day brings. You must know your pedagogy inside and out and be able to relate this to your students. You must also be loyal to the disciplines, tradition, and etiquettes of the podium which includes rehearsals and performances. Listen with your head and not your heart so you give your students the best opportunity to succeed in their music. Remember what it’s like to be the age of your students. If you don’t love it, you need to leave it!

 

ALASKA

Cynthia W. Sibitzky

Crawford Elementary School

Eielson AFB

Years at Current School: 17

Total Years Teaching: 36

Music Students: 300

Proudest moment as an educator: There are two moments that immediately come to mind. The first was when “P,” a student with many academic challenges, performed a beautiful recorder solo on the spring concert. The student body erupted into spontaneous applause. P’s grin and carefully executed bow were priceless!

The highlight of my teaching career came about seven years ago. I was presented with a framed print of an A-10 Warthog by the Commander of the 355th Fighter Squadron. The inscription read, “For your 24/7/365 dedication to our kids, your passion for teaching, and your constant vigilance and actions on the home front when we couldn’t be there. Know that you have made a significant contribution to this nation! From the Warthogs of the 355th FS.”

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to teach my students to commit to something – anything! The study of music would be wonderful, but it may not be a lifetime pursuit for many of them. I want them to hear – really hear – music and become a discriminating audience member. I want them to experience the wonder of being a part of something beautiful, whether it’s a symphony or just a simple song.

Key to a successful career in music ed: There are several keys to becoming a successful music educator. First, it must be a calling. I can’t imagine myself doing anything but teaching music to children. It takes complete dedication to the art. A second key would be the involvement of the teacher in professional organizations. Beyond just paying dues, being actively involved in a group of like-minded people will feed your soul and encourage you to strive toward higher goals. Third, never stop learning. There are teachers who teach one year, 30 times. Successful educators are continually refining and revising what they do to maintain a level of excellence and continually challenge not only themselves, but also the students they teach.

 

ARIZONA

Duane Chun

Buena High School

Sierra Vista

Years at Current School: 21

Total Years Teaching: 28

Instrumental Music Students: 200

Proudest moment as an educator: I have been very fortunate in my career to have had several benchmark moments that I will always remember. I am most proud of those moments of camaraderie and unique opportunities associated with the band rather than the awards or recognitions received over the years. Teaching and living in a military (Fort Huachuca) community, it was an honor to have had opportunities to participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at both Arlington National Cemetery and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor; imagine my band in full uniform with drum majors and an active duty band dad in his dress blue uniform walking a wreath with taps being played – both occasions were solemn moments that I guarantee no one will forget. I also have a very fond memory of the band performing on the Great Wall in China playing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and experiencing a spontaneous response from the international audience, which started swaying and singing – I remember looking around thinking, “How awesome is this?”

Making a difference in students’ lives: I am firmly in the Lou Holtz camp of simplifying everything down to three basic rules: (1) Just do the right thing; (2) Do the best you can with the time allotted; and (3) Show people you care. When these simple rules are applied to help build an organization and a legacy, it truly becomes humbling when you hear a student or alumni quoting and relating these core values to their life experiences.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Not only must you be an expert in your subject, but you must also be an expert – and passionate – in your role as a teacher; who you teach, how you teach, what you teach, and where you teach are essential. I have been very fortunate in my career to have had mentors and peers who I’ve relied on for inspiration, guidance, brainstorming, and venting sessions. Find a resource you respect who will help you with what’s not in the academic textbook.

Getting parents on your side will go a long way in allowing you to keep focused on teaching rather than the endless non-musical responsibilities that can easily become distractions. Find ways to have your program integrate parents as essential elements to learning outcomes. The help is there, you just have to be willing to ask and give up some control.

 

ARKANSAS

Chris Moore

George Junior High School

Springdale

Years at Current School: 9

Total Years Teaching: 9

Instrumental Music Students: 235

Proudest moment as an educator: Our school is 87 percent free and reduced lunch. Our demographics are 87 percent Hispanic, seven percent Marshallese, and six percent African American and Caucasian. One of my proudest/emotional moments as an educator was at Solo & Ensemble in 2010. A tuba player that year was one of the poorest students in our program. He worked hard to prepare his tuba solo. I sat in the room as each student played, because I was starting each accompaniment track. When this student finished his tuba solo, the adjudicator put his pencil down, leaned back in his chair and scratched his beard. Then he said, “Son, I believe that was the best solo I have heard all day.” The student replied, “Thank you, sir.” The judge asked, “Do you know what is in store for you?” “No, sir,” he replied. The judge then said, “A college scholarship on tuba. Do you know what that means?” The student replied, “No, sir.” The judge replied, “College for free!” I was very much emotionally moved to hear these amazing comments, especially considering how college for free would change this student’s life.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Each year we begin with 175-225 beginners in our band program. With a free and reduced lunch rate approaching 90 percent, we have had to become very creative in assisting our students in locating instruments to play. Two years ago, we created a historic fund for our program that assists those families in securing an instrument for their child. With many of our students not having a credit score that will allow them to purchase an instrument, we systematically developed individualized and personalized plans for all students who want to be in band to have their own instrument. Not a school instrument, their own instrument! Having their own instrument truly allows the student to buy into music!

Also, giving our students our very best everyday – before, during, and after school – is our philosophy. We believe that hard work pays off! We are very proud of the 525 students from our band program who have been selected into the All-Region Junior High Band, Orchestra, and Jazz Band the past eight years. And we are now seeing our former beginner students enter college as music majors. I am about to experience the joy of having my first former student graduate college with their music education degree!

Key to successful career in music education: My philosophy is that the students are not there for the teacher, but the teacher is there for the students. There is no secret to that of hard work. Arriving early, staying late, listening to students on the weekend are all ways that we interact with our students outside of the scheduled class time. Thus building relationships with students while cultivating a love for music. While being as transparent as possible and maintaining a high standard, give your very best efforts to your students each day (and on the weekends, too)!

 

CALIFORNIA

Michael Allard

Harmony Magnet Academy

Porterville

Years at Current School: 6

Total Years Teaching: 38

Instrumental Music Students: 120

Proudest moment as an educator: Hearing from the hundreds of my ex-students who are successful in the music and music education business

Making a difference in students’ lives: My students make a difference in my life. So many are quite well known in the business and yet they still take time to let me know how they are and what they are doing.

Key to a successful career in music: Constantly retool. Keep learning and expand your own learning. Be adaptable. Enjoy the daily grind. Never give up on a student, even when they give up on themselves. Learn to think like an administrator so that you know where they are coming from. Move levels or areas from time to time to keep fresh. Have higher standards than those around you. And so on. There is no single formula – it is a lifelong journey.

 

COLORADO

Danielle Johnson

Mountain Range High School

Westminster

Years at Current School: 6

Total Years Teaching: 14

Instrumental Music Students: 166

Proudest moment as an educator: I did my undergrad work in the Greater Chicagoland Area, so I have a certain reverence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. My proudest moment as an educator was conducting our orchestra in Symphony Hall on the same stage as the CSO.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I love getting thank-you notes from students because in addition to mentioning music specifically, they usually go on to say how learning an instrument has impacted other areas of their life. Music is so intrinsically personal that the learning process itself impacts each student differently and in ways you might not expect. No matter the students’ skill levels on their instruments, I strive to teach life lessons through music. I hope my passion for orchestral playing and care for the students will always be evident, because each day there’s going to be at least one student who needs to see that drive and genuine concern from their teacher.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Surround yourself with excellence: Excellent colleagues and their teaching will sharpen your own skills and spark new ideas. Creating excellent music will keep you a master of your craft and remind you what it feels like to be in your students’ shoes. Listening to excellent music will keep your ears attuned to a higher standard and replenish your musical soul after you give so much to your students every day.

 

 

CONNECTICUT

Jeff Shaw

Southington High School

Southington

Years at Current School: 24

Total Years Teaching : 31

Instrumental Music Students: 210

Proudest Moment as an Educator: There have been many performance moments that are highlights, but there are two things that stick out: first, the number of music educators that have come from our program and secondly our partnership with our Local American Legion. To have our kids bond with the veterans and work together has been great.

Making a difference in kid’s lives: It’s important to show students what it takes to excel at something so that they can apply that experience into whatever career path they choose. It’s equally important to show you care about them. There are many life lessons that we can learn through making music. Sometimes as educators we don’t realize the impact that we have with our kids. It’s there, and it cannot be underestimated.

Key to a successful career in music ed: There are no shortcuts. You need to stay current, do a ton of listening, and be prepared to invest the time needed. If you look at successful programs, they have directors who regularly put in many hours above and beyond. Planning is also a key component to success. Always be thinking of the next step in the progression for your program’s improvement/development.

 

DELAWARE

Rosaria Macera

Newark High School

Newark

Years at Current School: 26

Total Years Teaching: 26

Instrumental Music Students: 292

Proudest moment as an educator: As a teacher, my proudest moment was achieving National Board Certification, but as a music educator, my proudest moment was performing on the stages of the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall with my students.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Working with students for up to seven years before graduation gives me a chance to really connect with them as individuals. During that time, I would hope to have made a difference in students’ lives by instilling a love of music and creating life-long learners. I want to teach students, by example, how music can enrich one’s life. I hope to share with them what I am passionate about and what brings me joy.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Beyond the obvious keys to success, like hard work and dedication, it is important for educators to possess the ability to empathize and compromise. In short, knowing your students, highlighting their individual strengths, and supporting their collective growth is critical in enabling students to achieve their potential.

 

FLORIDA

Rick Dasher

F.W. Springstead High School

Spring Hill

Years at Current School: 25

Total Years Teaching: 29

Instrumental Music Students: 110

Proudest moment as an educator: The things I am most proud of are all long-term projects: the improvement of AP Music theory scores; orchestra and band scores at competitions; and the development of our jazz program

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to lead students to creating wonderful memories through music and to instill in them the life long love of music that I enjoy.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Love of music and students.

 

GEORGIA

Mack Roberts

Cass High School

White

Years at Current school: 10

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 105

Proudest moment as an educator: I truly cannot select a single moment. Every group I have had the privilege of teaching has been unique and special. As I think back through the years there have been so many truly wonderful moments. There have been so many times where the band members have come through a performance with such joy and emotion recognizing the specialness of that particular experience. Realizing the performance within itself was so unique and special that it cannot be repeated. There have been so many such tearful and joyful occasions in my career, I just cannot select one.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Music is the perfect subject for impacting the life of an individual. Students are exposed to so much more in music education than virtually any other subject. Everything from working together for a common performance or working individually to reach new limits in musical achievement, intellectual accomplishments, and character development is better accomplished through music.

Key to a successful career in music ed: This question is very simple to answer. Love for kids and love for music are essential to being successful as a music educator. Realizing that music, more specifically band, is such a wonderful vehicle in which to challenge students and make a tremendous difference in their lives.

 

HAWAII

Chadwick Kamei

Pearl City High School

Pearl City

Years at Current School: 9

Total Years Teaching: 12

Instrumental Music Students: 200

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments of teaching come at the end-of-the-year concert where we acknowledge all our band seniors. The growth and maturity they gain through their years in our program constantly amaze me. I feel grateful they continue to enroll in, build up, and raise the quality of the ensembles. I am so proud that our members “pay it forward” so that they can continue the legacy that was afforded to them.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope that our program will leave an indelible mark on our students by infusing their lives with the tools that they need to be successful in the 21st century. Music is an important vehicle for our students to learn about perseverance, collaboration, responsibility, and excellence. Through our study of music, I hope that our students will embody these characteristics to make music at a high quality and to lead fulfilling lives.

Key to a successful career in music ed:I believe that no one can know everything in this line of work. There are so many knowledgeable teachers in our field and each one has their own areas of expertise. Success comes from getting to know these experts and observing and learning from them. I’ve been blessed to have many mentors and friends who are willing to give me advice or help whenever I ask. This has been the key to my success and I feel that it is an important attribute for all new music educators.

 

IDAHO

Joel Williams

Fruitland High School

Fruitland

Years at Current School: 18

Total Years Teaching: 23

Instrumental Music Students: 335

Proudest moment as an educator: Watching students succeed. There have been memorable performances along the way, but each time it comes back to the students.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I would like my students to learn to work hard at making something beautiful. I want them to know that they can push themselves harder and farther than they think they can. I want them to know they are important, that what they do, no matter if they are first chair or last chair/third part, makes a difference. I want them to take pride in themselves and their organization, to value music, and to value their effort.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Flexibility is very important – one’s ability to swing with the pendulum that is public education and to make music viable and valuable to one’s community. The viability and value parts come in the form of a quality product that both the students and community feels is important. Have high expectations of your students. They will push to achieve them. A colleague of mine once said that you must “insist and persist” to get the sound you want from your group. Lastly, prioritize your life. Being single and having all the time in the world to commit to your job doesn’t transfer well to being a marriage partner or parent. Find something you like doing besides teaching and enjoy that, too.

 

ILLINOIS

Brian Dewald

Glenbard South High School

Glen Ellyn

Years at Current School: 20

Total Years Teaching: 20

Instrumental Music Students: 200

Proudest moment as an educator: When students come back to see the band perform and when they speak fondly of their time here.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope that I can help to instill a love for music in my students, whether they continue to perform or not. The positive interactions and experiences that they take away from band will provide lifetime memories and important non-musical skills that will serve them well in later pursuits.

Key to a successful career in music ed: There is an obvious musical foundation of skills that is necessary for every music educator, but the most important ingredient for success is to have people skills that enable you to relate to students, communicate with parents, and contribute positively inside the school community.

 

INDIANA

Wendy Higdon

Creekside Middle School

Carmel

Years at Current School: 10

Total Years Teaching: 23

Instrumental Music Students: 350

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moment was receiving an invitation for my band students to perform at The Midwest Clinic. Of course, it was an incredible honor, but it was also a wonderful affirmation of the great things my students are accomplishing.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Students need to know that you care, that you believe in them and that you are always going to challenge them to be the best they can be.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Never stop learning. The longer I am in this profession and the more I learn, the more apparent it becomes that there is so much that I still don’t know. In both musicianship and teaching, there is always a higher level of achievement to reach for.

 

IOWA

Brad Lampe

Clarke High School

Osceola, Iowa

Years at Current School: 27

Total Years teaching: 29

Instrumental Music Students: 102

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments as an educator are when the students and/or the audience are moved to an emotional apex because of our musical performance. Whether it be joy, sorrow, or even pain, an emotional response is always an educational high for me.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Our band has a family-type atmosphere and I like being the parent of the group. Helping students become adults through musical experiences is my philosophy.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The key for me is when I hear former students reminiscing about musical performances and band memories. I feel a sense of fulfillment and success when I know students take away lifelong memories and experiences from our band program.

 

KANSAS

Kim Harrison

Shawnee Mission East

Prairie Village

Years at Current School: 28

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 133

Proudest moment as an educator: Performing in the finals of Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival in New York City in 2001 and again in 2006. The students were excited to perform on such a prestigious stage in front of internationally known music adjudicators. Students from both of those ensemble are now professional musicians, ranging from symphonies to performing as professional jazz musicians in New York as adults.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope they keep music in their adult life, by being supporters of the arts or by continuing to play their instrument, and that they will always use integrity in making decisions that will affect their lives!

Key to a successful career in music ed: Attend regional and national music seminars, such as Music For All, and the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Surround yourself with music educators that have integrity and will teach you what you need to know to be successful in teaching as well as life. Do not become one-dimensional in your pursuit of excellence. Pursue it in all three areas of marching, concert, and jazz band genres. Finally, don’t give up, do not ever give up!

 

KENTUCKY

Teresa Elliot

Beaumont Middle School

Lexington

Years at Current School: 12

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 225

Proudest moment as an educator: There are so many! One very special memory has to be taking the stage at the 2005 Midwest Clinic with the Beaumont Middle School Band. The look on their faces as they climbed the steps to the stage – it was excitement and it was a look of being so proud of themselves and of each other. It was so incredibly gratifying to see their sense of accomplishment on their faces. Then, when the performance started, they played with such a sense of energy and passion. They honestly had prepared so intensely that they had a fun time performing – which is what it is all about! Performing music should be fun. I think many times we, as educators, get so caught up in the final destination, that we forget that the day-to-day journey is so much longer lasting in children’s lives.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I feel so very blessed to have had the opportunity for all of my years of teaching to use music as a vehicle to make a difference in the lives of my students. The neat thing is to hear from students from some 30 years ago thanking me for the discipline, the love, the caring, and commitment that they have experienced via music. No matter what path they have chosen for their lives, they attribute much of their success in life to the principles they learned as members of the band.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Never stop learning; if we are able to teach it, our students can learn it; set high expectations and never stop believing that your students can reach those expectations. With all the additional demands of “paperwork” in today’s educational system, we must never lose sight of why we chose this great profession in the first place. It’s really about being passionate about kids and passionate about music. It is a positive and infectious art. Finally, constantly surround yourself with great music, great mentors, and great colleagues. I am so fortunate to have had tremendous teachers as part of my music education. It is my hope that I can be a piece of that influence for the next generation, so that music education will never cease.

 

LOUISIANA

Cheryl Corkran

Greenacres Middle School

Bossier City

Years at Current School: 21

Total Years Teaching: 31

Instrumental Music Students: 260

Proudest moment as an educator: Being nominated last year for the Grammy Music Education Award by one of my colleagues here at Greenacres! Although I was not selected as a finalist, it was one of the most amazing award nominations I have ever received.

Making a difference in students’ lives: For me, it’s always about making the music, but along the way there are life lessons learned and memories made, and that’s what my students and I will cherish forever.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Be honest with your students. Set high standards and work every day to push your students towards those standards. Make sure you have a personal hobby or activity which allows you to “unplug” from music, even for short periods of time.

 

MAINE

Mark Manduca

Old Orchard Beach High School

Old Orchard Beach

Years at Current School: 14

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 50

Proudest moment as an educator: Any of those moments when students come to a realization that transforms them to a new level of achievement or understanding.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to help them to become great citizens, as well as lifelong musicians.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Patience, dedication, loyalty, high standards, a sense of humor, and the willingness to invest lots of time.

 

MARYLAND

Barry Enzman

Glenelg High School

Glenelg

Years at Current School: 40

Total Years Teaching: 40

Instrumental Music Students: 160

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments are having former students write back to me after graduation and say that they have a true love of music, attend live concerts whenever they can, their kids are taking instruments in their schools, and that I made a difference in their lives.

Making a difference in students’ lives: The benefits of hard work, dedication, and commitment that are stressed in my program will bring them success in life no matter what career they pursue.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Enthusiasm! Roll up your sleeves, put a smile on your face, and bring the music to life during your rehearsals!

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Cynthia Napierkowski

Salem Public Schools

Salem

Years at Current School: 27

Total Years Teaching: 27

Instrumental Music Students: 700

Proudest moment as an educator: This is really a tough question to answer because I’m proud of even the smallest of successes that my students achieve and I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting. If I had to narrow it to just one moment, I suppose it would be our performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2009. The really cool thing is that we’re going back this March in 2014 for another performance at Carnegie Hall.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I go to work every day ready to do battle, not with the students but for the students. A well-rounded music program makes for well-rounded people and I truly believe that music makes a significant difference in our students’ lives. I was fortunate to have some wonderful teachers growing up and my way of paying them back and saying “thank you” to them is to try to make a difference for my own students. I want my students to have someone who believes in them and someone who will stand by them when the going gets tough.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Some believe in the “Three Rs” for education (Reading, Writing...) but I believe in the Three Ps: Patience, Perseverance, and Passion. A former superintendent once called me “fiercely loyal” to my students and I guess that about sums it up. It’s always about the kids and that’s the way it should be. It’s the only reason to be a teacher; it’s too much work otherwise.

 

MICHIGAN

Lori Von Koenig

Lakeshore High School

Stevensville

Years at Current School: 26

Total Years Teaching: 28

Instrumental Music Students: 500

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moment as an educator was when I watched a very special young man, who was a member of our band, march in his first competitive show in ninth grade with confidence, precision, and pride. He had been a member of our band since the fifth grade, he was autistic and had just completed a huge milestone in his life through this one “first performance.” He went on to achieve many more milestones for the next four years!

 Key to a successful career in music ed: I think the key to being successful as a music educator is to develop meaningful relationships with colleagues and mentors in our field and always be willing to learn something new. I also think that successful educators learn to have a sense of humor and joy in what they do!

 Making a difference in students’ lives: Making a difference in students’ lives requires a heart commitment as well as a time commitment. There are no shortcuts. You care more than you should, you invest more than is necessary, you risk more than is wise, and you love them for who they are - not what they do!

 

 

MINNESOTA

Keith Wander

Hawley High School

Hawley

Years at Current School: 31

Total Years Teaching: 31

Instrumental Music Students: 228

Proudest moment as an educator: Seeing a fifth grader after their first concert is very rewarding. They are so excited and their parents are so proud. You know you are doing something that touches lives. The first concert we did in Walt Disney World was powerful for me. We were on the bay lake with Spaceship Earth behind us. We played Carmen Dragon’s “America The Beautiful” as a thunderstorm was approaching. We hit the grand pause and a giant thunderclap rang out. It was very dramatic and something all of us involved will remember. We share what we learn in the classroom in a tradition that has been with humans for millennia. I am grateful to be part of that tradition.

 Making a difference in students’ lives: Music educators make a difference in students’ lives. All music educators change lives. We have the opportunity to give students the gift of music. I have received a number of letters over the years thanking me for what I gave students. It is an intangible gift that makes life better. We are the lucky people that get to give that gift to others.

Key to a successful career in music ed: I owe a great debt to all of my musical mentors. Tim Lautzenheiser has been an inspiration for me for many years. I first heard him speak at the Minnesota Music Educators Convention in Minneapolis in the 1980s. I was feeling burned out in my first few years of teaching and was looking at other careers. His speech, in a nutshell, was “You can’t be burned out if you haven’t started a fire.” I’ve been trying to light the fire ever since. Thank you to everyone that has touched my life. Keep the fire burning.

 

MISSISSIPPI

Tim Matlock

Tupelo High School

Tupelo

Years at Current School: 3

Total Years Teaching: 16

Instrumental Music Students: 650

Proudest moment as an educator: My two proudest moments as an educator had to be when we received the Sweepstake Award for Mississippi after our State Concert Evaluation. We made all Superiors in Marching, Concert, and Sight-Reading from every judge that year. The concert performance was fun and stress free as I told the students I knew that they would do fine. This was the first time in my life that I felt complete confidence in the students’ performance and that the performance would be no less than great!

The other was when I received the Teacher of Distinction Award for the second time in my district beating out several subject area teachers K-12. I was honored and thrilled to know that people did notice all the extra time I put into my passion. It’s not work, because I love it!

Making a difference in students’ lives: There is so much more to band than just music. So many life skills that we teach the kids each day. Responsibility, team work, diligence, commitment, determination, desire, respect, and loyalty are just a few. Students must learn that in order to function properly in the real world, these basic skills are required. For many students, band is their safe haven. It is a place where they “belong” and feel comfortable and welcome. So in short, I want to make a difference by effecting their lives everyday not with just music but with things they can carry with them throughout their lives.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The keys to a successful career in music are planning ahead, knowing your students personally and their tendencies, working those “extra” hours that you might not get paid for, and focusing on improving every year and not just winning. If you’re not progressing each year, the kids aren’t getting any better. If you’re only focused on winning, you’re selling your student short on other things that could benefit their lives. Success is only good when your students are striving to be the best for themselves and no one else. At that point everyone wins!

 

MISSOURI

Doug Hoover

Parkway Central High School

Chesterfield

Years at Current School: 28

Total Years Teaching: 31

Instrumental Music Students: 260

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments are when graduates return to share their stories. When they tell me how important being in the band was to them. Our PCH Bands have performed in significant events and parades, but the graduates talk about music played, or gratifying rehearsals, or not-so-gratifying rehearsals. They remember the actual art of creating something, with people they liked and people they didn’t care too much for. Some are professional musicians or teachers, but most are caring, kind contributors to a better world. I am so proud of our graduates and the people they have become.

 Making a difference in students’ lives: I like students and I give them a chance to achieve something special. Sometimes, when we fall short of something great, I can have the most influence on our students’ development. We don’t always get the results we want, but the path is often more important than the destination. I try to be demanding without being cruel, honest without being harsh, and always respectful and kind. It doesn’t mean that you don’t get after kids or push them when they are resistant. But, if I have built a relationship with students that demonstrate that I am prepared and that I care about them as people, I will have the “chips” to demand more than they think they can give.

 Key to a successful career in music ed: For me it has to be that I like people (kids in particular) and music. I gain such joy from the students’ growth as musicians and people. I love Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, and solos and ensembles. By embracing all of the elements of a strong band program, I don’t ever get bored or run out of professional challenges. I don’t understand “burn out” because I like the pace and variety of a total band program. It is never boring.

 

MONTANA

Jeff Skogley

Cascade Public Schools

Cascade

Years at Current School: 22

Total Years Teaching: 32

Instrumental Music Students: 100

Proudest moment as an educator: A single moment is hard to choose. Every time I see “the light turn on” in a student’s mind; every time a student is selected for an Honor Band; every time I see former students playing in a band or orchestra; I feel proud with all of those situations.

Making a difference in students’ lives: My hope is that my students will learn to love making music. And that many of my students will love making music and continue making music their entire lives. Even if they don’t continue making music, I hope they have gained a deep appreciation for music. Just as importantly, I hope my students will know the value of hard work and always giving their best effort, whether it is an easy task or difficult one.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Several things are necessary to have a successful career in music education. We have to care about what we are teaching our students. We need to be willing to give our best efforts even for parts of the job that are dreary. We need to be willing to meet our students where they are, musically and emotionally, and always move them forward. Our focus needs to be on what is best for the kids. That is not always easy nor always popular, but in the long run will be in their best interest. To quote one of my mentors: “It’s all about the kids!”

 

NEBRASKA

Mark Jones

Fort Calhoun High School

Fort Calhoun

Years at Current School: 37

Total Years Teaching: 37

Instrumental Music Students: 130

Proudest moment as an educator: I don’t know that I have a single proudest moment in my career, but the
moments when I am the most proud are the times I see the students performing above and beyond what anyone should be able to expect of them, and perhaps especially in marching band when they are completely under student control on the field. I had a band a few years back that at the beginning of the season, looking at them on paper, should have been perhaps my weakest marching band in over 20 years. But they went out to rehearsal and improved each and every single day of that season and ended the runners-up at the state marching festival. It was an awesome accomplishment on their parts.

Making a difference in students’ lives: So many of my former students have come back and shared that the most important lessons they learned in my class and the concepts that helped them the most to be successful in their lives were my philosophies of always doing things right and always doing your very best, along with my work ethic ideas. I, of course, also want to instill in them a love for great music, but I think these “life lessons” they learn in band, which include good citizenship, are some of the most valuable things that I can give to them. It’s a bit scary; they have little phrases that have stuck with them over the years that I don’t even remember saying!

Key to a successful career in music ed: I don’t know that this is very profound, but I think the answer is four-fold. First of all, you have to be willing to work very hard. Second, you have to love working with teenagers. Third, you have to set the bar high for your ensembles and stick with it. On an individual basis, you probably owe it to most students to set higher expectations for them than they have for themselves. Finally, you have to somehow be flexible enough to “go with the flow” in order to survive all the things that go on in the educational world today, and yet, at the same time, still somehow maintain extremely high standards.

 

NEVADA

Rick Moffit

McQueen High School

Reno

Years at Current School: 13

Total Years Teaching: 30

Instrumental Music Students: 130

Proudest moment as an educator: Our band is similar to many of [this publication’s] readers’ bands. We have our share of state championships, along with participation in Presidential Inaugural and Tournament of Roses Parades. When I was young, I would have said that was my goal. Now, my proudest moment would be watching a student who was programmed for failure enter our program. Within weeks he found a home in our band. His life turned around. He not only graduated from high school, but went on to college as a music ed major. He joined a national caliber drum and bugle corps. He is well on his way to being a very successful band director. He is the kind of person who will reach kids and make his program a home for many students.

Making a difference in students’ lives: My hope is that I provide a positive experience for my students, while still providing a top flight music education, whether that be in concert or jazz bands, drum lines, winter guard, or AP Music Theory. A few years ago we had 30 freshmen enter our program. Four years later, those same 30 students were still in the program when they graduated. One hundred percent retention does not occur every year. However, we consistently have very high retention. To me, it says the students, and their parents, feel their time and energy is well spent while they are enrolled in band. It says they are receiving much more than just a musical education, but are receiving an education in life.

Key to a successful career in music ed: When I visit with new directors just out of college, I tell them, “Your music education has just started.” Most colleges do a fine job of teaching music and how to play an instrument. They do a poor job of teaching the student how to be successful in running a band “program.” I encourage the students to attend the Conn-Selmer Institute, to attend state conventions, to find a mentor they can talk to and ask questions. To be a successful over a period of years requires so many skills, many of which are not taught in colleges. Never stop learning and asking questions.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Ellen Wilber

Indian River School

Canaan

Years at Current School: 30

Total Years Teaching: 32

Instrumental Music Students: 100

Proudest moment as an educator: It is hard to pinpoint one specific moment. I am most proud when I have a beginner band student “catch on” to playing their instrument and realizing they can accomplish something. I love those “light bulb” moments when students realize they are actually making music!

I’ve also been very proud of former students coming back and telling me they remember what they learned from me and how they are still making music. That is so gratifying!

Making a difference in students’ lives: I have three hopes: 1) I hope to bring students the absolute joy of music by helping them experience it personally and by showing them how much music means to me; 2) I hope to instill a lifelong love of music and learning in my students; 3) I hope to show them that by caring about them and their lives they can grow up and find ways to make a difference in others’ lives!

Key to a successful career in music ed: The key to a successful career in music education is to never stop practicing! Never stop learning to be a better teacher and never stop performing music. Show your students that music is as much a part of your life outside of school as in, and model being the best performer you can be. Showing your students your own love of music will rub off and teach them valuable lessons about commitment and investment in the arts.

 

NEW JERSEY

Matthew J. Paterno

Wayne Hills High School

Wayne

Years at Current School: 24

Total Years Teaching: 25

Instrumental Music Students: 130

Proudest moment as an educator: Over 25 years of teaching there have been many very proud moments for me as a music educator. I believe the proudest would be our wind ensemble’s performance at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. It wasn’t so much the performance, although I am certainly proud of the way the students played, but the rehearsals and student excitement leading up to the performance that made this moment truly special.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Through music I hope to teach that the process to achieving a goal is as important as the goal itself. Success in any endeavor requires work and band is a great way to help students understand the planning, effort, and persistence that is necessary to reach their goals. I also hope to provide a supportive and nurturing environment that allows them to grow, make mistakes, and mature into responsible musicians and people.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The true key to enjoying a long and successful career in music education is to enjoy the success of your students! It never gets old or stale to help others succeed and grow. Enjoying the process at least as much as the product is certainly important. I also feel that you must continue to grow, improve, and learn as a musician if you are to retain the energy and enthusiasm you had when you first entered the profession. You can never forget to teach the love of music and banding first!

 

NEW MEXICO

Jennifer Johnson

Portales High School

Portales

Years at Current School: 6

Total Years Teaching: 18

Instrumental Music Students: 203

Proudest moment as an educator: To identify a single moment is difficult. However, I can identify the common factor in all these occasions: finding meaning in music outside of my “classroom” and becoming leaders. When students take the skills and knowledge learned in band and apply them in different settings – performing outside of band, teaching peers, mentoring younger students, composing, having thoughtful conversations about music – I see that they love music enough that they seek to make their own meaningful activities beyond rehearsals. When I hear students performing and earning recognition outside of organized band classes, it makes me proud because music means enough to them that they continue to expand their musical knowledge and skills. When I observe current and former students teaching music, earning awards, and serving in leadership roles, I know they are building upon traits they learned in our band programs.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to be a positive influence on my students while leading their education in instrumental music with integrity and perseverance. I want for my students to develop skills that will help them throughout their lives. Teaching music provides a unique opportunity to accomplish these general goals because of the way music activates so many parts of the brain. I work hard to ensure my students have the opportunities to receive an education that includes the development of the creative modes of cognition, which helps them to recognize, evaluate, and value the aesthetic properties surrounding them. As they value the beauty in life through music, I hope it will help them to maintain a positive attitude and outlook, regardless of their circumstances.

Keys to a successful career in music ed: The key to a successful career in music education is to remain always a student, to never stop learning. We should read books and magazines specific to music and music education, but balance that with technical and literary reading interests outside of music. We need to perform on our instruments whenever possible to maintain a connection to that which brought us into this as a career. We need to remember that we get to come to work each day and pursue our hobby as our career.

 

NEW YORK

Robert Corbino, Ed.D.

St. Francis Preparatory School

Fresh Meadows

Years at Current School: 38

Total Years Teaching: 39

Instrumental Music Students: 506

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments as an educator are: Having the St. Francis Prep Music Department become the first ever to be awarded the Music Credential from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; having the school’s ensembles perform for three Papal visits; having the band perform for (the American) hostages who were released from Iran (1982); and having our ensembles perform on tour in England and Italy.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Each day in my prayers, I ask that I can do some good for my students by making sure that each and every musical experience they have is a special one, and that they feel their ensembles are a second family.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The key to a successful career in music education is that you must enjoy working with young people. You must have the passion, enthusiasm, and energy to make sure your students, of any level, are constantly engaged and that every experience provides them with a closer connection with our discipline, whether it be building instruments in a music appreciation class or improvising in a jazz band. We teach students to have an abiding love of music, and ultimately become active consumers of the arts.

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Neil S. Underwood

North Lincoln High School

Lincolnton

Years at Current School: 11

Total Years Teaching: 31

Instrumental Music Students: 160

Proudest moment as an educator: I have a saying that I took from an All-State Clinic where Harry Begian was the conductor. He told the students that making music and working in band is not always fun. Making music is “Joy – Joy with a capital J!” I made that statement my mantra and have used it in my teaching since. Making music is and can be so much more than just fun or any other simple emotion. This is the “Joy” that words cannot describe.

In 2011, the senior class of the band program at North Lincoln surprised me with a commission by Brian Balmages. Not only did they plan and earn the funding, they also arranged for Brian to be at the school for the premiere and even had two rehearsals with him without my knowing. At the concert, when they sat me in the front row of the audience, and Brian Balmages walked out on stage, it was a total surprise and I had my own “Mr. Holland” moment.

The title of the commissioned work is: “Joy In All Things.” Brian used the theme of our school’s Alma Mater, and captured the “Joy” that I always speak about with my students. He used my daughter (who was supposed to be away at college) as the off-stage flute soloist, and my senior drum major (who spearheaded the commission) to complete the beautiful flute duet from the stage. It was a magical moment, and the piece is a standing testament to the love and dedication a group of kids can give a band director.

Making a difference in students’ lives: As a teacher, I find my most important mission is to develop life skills in the young people I am blessed to teach. Through our band’s leadership program, my students learn how to work with each other. Learning to lead and follow, when to speak, and when to listen are important skills that often seem missing in our educational system. I preach constantly about responsibility to the organization, to the school, to parents and teachers, and, most of all, to self. If a student never learns to play a B-flat scale, but he/she learns to be a responsible citizen who makes our world a better place, then I feel I have succeeded as a teacher. But of course I demand that they learn the scales as well.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The key to a successful career in music is balance. Keeping an understanding of the importance of having a quality program and still maintaining a personal life is very difficult, but must be done in order to not suffer burnout. I have been very fortunate that my wife is a music teacher, and both of my children were in my band program. Otherwise, I doubt how much understanding my family would have had for the long hours and passion I have committed over the years to band.

 

NORTH DAKOTA

Chris Dasovick

Century High School

Bismarck

Years at Current School: 11

Total Years Teaching: 11

Instrumental Music Students: 237

Proudest moment as an educator: The best moments are seeing students work hard and achieve levels of success far beyond what they thought they were capable of achieving.

Making a difference in students’ lives: It is my hope that their experience in band provides our students with the skills necessary to become positive, hard-working, and productive members of society – regardless of their profession. I hope that all students graduating from our program recognize the value that being involved in music had on their lives. That they see the positive effects it had on their emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and physical well being. And, even if they don’t continue to play after graduating, I hope that their participation in music encourages them to help ensure future generations of students are afforded the same or better opportunities to make music than they had.

Key to a successful career in music education: While there are many factors involved in a successful career in music education, I think the most important ones are positive relationships with students and a true enjoyment of teaching music. Students are almost always willing to invest more time, energy, and effort into their band work if they know that the teacher cares about them as individuals and wants to help them reach their full potential. As their instructor, it is my responsibility to show that I truly enjoy what I do or I can never expect my students to appreciate it enough to put in the work required.

 

OHIO

George Edge

Grove City High School

Grove City

Years at Current School: 27

Total Years Teaching: 35

Instrumental Music Students: 247

Proudest moment as an educator: There are three: Getting to meet George W. Bush after being selected as Ohio’s 2007 Teacher of the Year; the pride and sense of great accomplishment reflected on my students faces after performing at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois in 1996 and 2002; as well as the students’ faces after they won the 2012 Fiesta Bowl National Marching Competition.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I want them to leave my program having a deeper love for music, respect for people, and a knowledge of what great things can be accomplished when people work together to perform great music.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Making sure that each student is held accountable for performing at a high musical level on their instruments and not settling for their second best, when first is available.

 

OKLAHOMA

Ronald Potter

Antlers Public Schools

Antlers

Years at Current School: 14

Total Years Teaching: 19

Instrumental Music Students: 115

Proudest moment as an educator: We have traveled from San Antonio to St. Louis to Orlando for countless contests and festivals, and my proudest moments as an educator come when whatever the performance or competition, the students feel successful. Win or not, when the students leave the field/stage and feel good about what they have accomplished, particularly when they didn’t think it was possible to begin with, those are the moments that I enjoy the most.

Making a difference in students’ lives: My goals are to instill a love and understanding of music, but on a broader spectrum to help teach my students the importance of self responsibility, self discipline, and that “good enough” is not good enough; skills that will serve them well wherever they go and whatever they do.

Key to a successful career in music ed: I think the key has to be flexibility in dealing with all of the various duties and situations a director faces, but most importantly a love of what you do and the students you teach. The rewards in the classroom far outweigh any compensation you could ever earn.

 

OREGON

Joel Tanner

Newberg High School

Newberg

Years at Current School: 8

Total Years Teaching: 15

Instrumental Music Students: 180

Proudest moment as an educator: I could talk about festivals and contests and awards, but I am more proud of the little things. The homeless student who found a way to become a professional musician. The girl who came back five years after leaving the program to thank me. The student who wrote a brilliant piece for concert band based upon a statement made in class. The time the band was working on emotional connection to the dots on the page and the kids secretly invited my parents to a concert and then unexpectedly dedicated a piece to them, complete with a slide show of my childhood as visual accompaniment. I lasted about 30 seconds, but I felt the kids truly understood emotional connection.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I have three goals as an educator in music. My first goal is to put as much music in front of my kids as a I can to increase their ability to make smarter choices about what they choose to listen to on their own. My second goal is to show students that music can be more than just pushing buttons at the right times, but an extension of their emotional personality. My third goal is to show kids that success comes from perseverance no matter your talent level or subject.

Key to a successful career in music education: While the content of what we teach fuels our passion, and the compassion for young people is the vehicle, the rubber hits the road only after you deal with the ‘administrive’ portion of the job that you don’t get training on in school. Things like how to run a photocopy machine, order a bus, file music, budget both time and money, and all the other things that seem to replace all the time you wish you had for score study and content preparation.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Elaine P. Sloan

Radnor Middle School

Wayne

Years at Current School: 37

Total Years Teaching: 37

Instrumental Music Students: 156

Proudest moment as an educator: Because we as teachers teach so many children over the course of our careers, it is impossible to choose just one special moment. That moment could be each child’s concert when you get to observe the joy and satisfaction in their eyes as they beam with pride in a successful performance; it could be that moment when a child finally grasps a difficult concept and that long-awaited “light bulb” goes off; it could be when another teacher reaches out to you to let you know that a student who has struggled in their class is more motivated, is doing better, and seems more able to concentrate – and they believe it may have something to do with their instrument study with you. All these moments make me proud, but none as much as when a child says to me, “I am so glad I play my instrument!”

Making a difference in students’ lives: I want each child to realize the value that studying a string instrument makes in their lives beyond the world of music. I want orchestra to be memorable not because they remember me, but because of the skills they have accomplished, the music they were able to learn and the friends, and memories that they have made over the years. It’s not about what they can do for the orchestra, but what the orchestra can do for them. The study of music transcends the written note and reaches into the fabric of the lives of all students who make that choice to study a musical instrument.

Key to a successful career in music ed: A love and passion for music first, the desire to spread the knowledge and skills to others, and the ability to be intuitive and to think ahead as well as to be incredibly organized! To remember it’s not always about the best players in your group but to concentrate on those with the desire to learn and do well, regardless of their skill level. By the same token, don’t give up on those who seem hopeless. Maintain the simple philosophy that all children have the gift of music and it takes a patient, gifted teacher to draw out those gifts and make them shine.

 

RHODE ISLAND

Christine Harrington

Cranston High School West, Western Hills Middle School

Cranston

Total Years Teaching: 33

Years at Current School: 14

Instrumental Music Students: 100

Proudest moment as an educator: There have been so many ways in which I have been proud of my students that I don’t think there is a “proudest” moment. I believe my mission as a music educator is to open doors for my students; to be a guide. I show them that there is a fantastic world of music available to them. I help them develop the skills to make music and help them find that incredible world. Each of my many “proudest” moments have occurred when a student seems to understand, on a deep level, the emotional power of music; when a student can connect with other students, and to me, through our shared musical experience.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Performing and teaching music brings me joy every day! It is my hope to be able to teach my students to enjoy music for their entire lives; whether they are performers or simply listeners with more educated ears and a connection to performing musicians. Fine musicians develop through a combination of talent and many hours of consistent work. My hope is that my students will know the satisfaction of success as a result of their individual efforts, the gratification of working together in an ensemble, and the musical expression of a full range of emotions that accompany the many styles of music they will experience.

Key to a successful career in music ed: I wholeheartedly believe that the best teachers never stop learning, never sit back and assume they have everything figured out, and understand that every year will bring new challenges. While it can be a bit scary, learning something new is exhilarating! Musicians strive toward perfection but know we will never be perfect. The process is where the joy lies. Continuing to work toward becoming a better musician, learning to play different styles of music, creating new approaches to lessons, and sharing one’s passion for music all keeps a long career new and fresh.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ken Turner

River Bluff High School

Lexington

Years at Current School: 1

Total Years Teaching: 21

Instrumental Music Students: 172

Proudest moment as an educator: I have had so many proud moments, but I have two moments that I will never forget. The first is walking out to the stage at the 1998 Midwest Clinic in Chicago as a co-conductor of the Irmo Middle School Honor Band. That walk to the podium was everything I heard it would be; my heart soared as I saw and heard thousands of amazing music educators applauding to my right, and then, after I bowed and turned around, I saw my own students smiling back at me. That was an amazing feeling!

The second moment just happened this year, when the River Bluff High School Band, where I now teach, was named the 2013 SC 3A Lower-State Marching Band Champions, in our inaugural year! Those kids were so excited and proud of themselves, and I was thrilled for them.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to be an example of integrity, tenacity, and having a passion for what I do. Band literally saved me from a life of mediocrity. I was a very average student academically in high school, mostly because I was lazy. My students often look at me with disbelief when I tell them that, because they see how hard I work now, and what my groups have achieved. But, in spite of my average academic performance back then, I excelled at band and chorus. My high school band director was the first person to say to me, “You are really good at this; you should go to college and major in music.” It was right then that my life changed. I started to actually see myself going to college and having a career in music. Because my band director was a great example, and encouraged me to strive for the highest, I am where I am today, doing what I love the most. I want to be that catalyst for my students, by encouraging them to aim high in band, and also in life.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The first key to success is to really know yourself, as a person and as a music educator: your strengths and weaknesses; knowing what type of vibe you want your program to have; and realizing that you are responsible for creating that vibe. If things are not happening in your program the way you want, look in the mirror first. Videotape your rehearsals if necessary, and be willing to evolve if needed.

Second, we have a saying here at River Bluff: “It is not about I and Me, it is about Us and We.” Everything you do must be to help your students succeed, not yourself. Making wonderful music should always be the focus of your program. If your program has the means, surround yourself with the best staff you possibly can, and use the strengths of each staff member to help achieve the band’s goals.

Finally, being a music educator is very time-consuming. Try to balance your working life with at least some time to relax. If you work 24/7, you will burn out.

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

Don Downs

Stevens High School

Rapid City

Years at Current School: 27

Total Years teaching: 37

Instrumental Music Students: 160

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moments as an educator are when my students succeed in areas that are important to them. One of my best memories is that of a young euphonium student who was preparing to perform the solo in the first movement of the “Second Suite for Military Band” by Holst as a sophomore. Following an automobile accident that left him unable to hold the euphonium or get a sound, we worked very hard for the next three years to recover his playing ability. At the spring concert his senior year, I programmed the same selection by Holst. He played the euphonium solo and took a well-deserved bow to a standing ovation from the audience.

Making a difference in students’ lives: My hope is to give my students the tools to become life-long musicians who can make a difference in their communities. If they are exposed to good music, they will develop an appreciation for and a connection to the artistic aspect of music. They will become advocates to keep music in their communities for their children.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The most important key to a successful career in music education is to help students experience the emotional expression found only in music. Once they have an emotional experience with music they will be hooked for life.

 

TENNESSEE

Eric Baumgardner

Halls High School

Knoxville

Years at Current School: 10

Total Years Teaching: 19

Instrumental Music Students: 245

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moment is when the students exit the field or stage having played their show or concert music to the best of their ability. It is one of those moments where the synergy of the group and their collective performance is greater than themselves. All of the hard work pays off at those moments. It is hard to describe this feeling unless you have been in a performing ensemble.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to give them a passion for music and music making in all of its various forms within our program. I want them to learn that there is no magic – just hard work, patience, and a consistent daily plan of improving with each rehearsal. With that being said, we want to have joy and fun in the process and hopefully create some magic!

Key to a successful career in music ed: In the ever-changing world of public education, I think it is important never to forget that we are a “people” business. In our field, those people include our colleagues and administration, our students, their parents, and our community stakeholders. My business is that of music education; that is my vehicle. I want the students to celebrate in their successes and to push them to improve to greater heights of achievement in band and their other classes. Also, teaching music is not a 100-yard dash; it is a marathon that will take place over many years. I may not see the fruits of what I teach today, but they will be evident many years down the road.

 

TEXAS

Manuel C. San Luis

Cedar Park Middle School

Cedar Park

Years at Current School: 18

Total Years Teaching: 30

Instrumental Music Students: 351

Proudest moment as an educator: When my Symphonic Band in 2007 performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and once again when my saxophone ensemble performed in 2010, the journey leading to their performance, and the obstacles we all had to overcome, and finally presenting a concert in Chicago that was honorable and musical, was the proudest moment I had as a director.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I believe in teaching the person in the musician, as opposed to the musician in the person. Integrity, commitment, compassion, discipline, good citizenship, and teamwork are part of the band vocabulary, and I place these things above all. Good people make good music!

Key to a successful career in music ed: Having passion for music that moves you, and transforms you, and instilling this passion to the students in your band hall, and keeping it always fresh and vibrant, are the motivators that keep you going in music education.

 

UTAH

Steven R. Hendricks

Davis High School

Kaysville

Years at Current School: 24

Total Years Teaching: 26

Instrumental Music Students: 270

Proudest moment as an educator: There are two that stick out. The first was our wind ensemble’s performance at the 1998 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. The second was at the state concert band festival in 2011 when we became the first band in Utah history to earn a superior rating with three separate concert bands.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I have always held to the philosophy that I use music as a vehicle to teach kids. My goal is to send students on to life with a great appreciation and love of music, but also with the understanding of what it takes to be successful, how to lead others, and how to work with a team. While they are in high school I hope they find their niche in the band room. Band is where they find their friends and where everyone can belong.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Never stop learning! There is always somebody somewhere doing something better than you, so don’t hesitate to ask how they do it. I love attending our annual conference just for the chance to visit with my friends and colleagues – and even after 26 years, I still come home with at least one thing I can use to improve my teaching.

 

VERMONT

Mary Adele Bauer

Mount Mansfield Union High School

Jericho

Years at Current School: 10

Total Years Teaching: 17

Instrumental Music Students: 85

Proudest moment as an educator: A few years ago, I needed to take a month’s leave as my students were preparing for our spring concert. Unable to find a fully trained substitute, my students ran classes in band and orchestra. They would video tape the classes and send me the videos. When I came back in time for the concert, it was the best concert I have ever conducted in my career of teaching. I was able to let go during the entire concert and was given the gift of watching an authentic passion and love of music on the part of my students.

Making a difference in students’ lives: While my hope, like any educator, is to instill a lifelong love of music, I have realized the work we do in the band room and on stage give many students the confidence to take risks and express themselves in all areas of life.

Key to a successful career in music ed: To become a humbled teacher/musician and know that your students are there to learn from you, but you are also there to learn from them.

 

VIRGINIA

Gregory Louis McCallum Sr.

Richmond Community High School

Richmond

Years at Current School: 14

Total Years Teaching: 27

Instrumental Music Students: 45

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moment as an educator happened three years ago when I traveled to Boston to witness one of my students perform in Berklee College of Music Five Week Summer Program’s closing concert. After the concert, awards and scholarships were handed out, and my student received one of the 12 full scholarships that were awarded. Seeing her reaction when she was told that she had won a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music made me so proud to be an educator because I knew that I, along with other teachers, had a small part in her success.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I hope to make a difference in students’ lives by exposing them to musical situations that can enrich their lives and provide meaningful educational experiences. I want students to know that they can enjoy and perform more than one type of music, and that they should appreciate all types of musical expression. I have found that students grow so much when they can explore different and challenging things.

Key to a successful career in music ed: One key is having an understanding that music is more than the notes on the page. It is also building good teacher-student and teacher-administrator relationships, communicating, and having good organizational skills. Knowledge of your subject matter is wonderful, but if you cannot successfully transfer that knowledge to your students iin a manner that each individual student understands and can relate to, your program will suffer. Always allow people to see that for you, being a music educator is not about anything except educating young minds. If you do this, you will have a successful career.

 

WASHINGTON

Jill Sumpter

Sultan High School

Sultan

Years at Current School: 20

Total Years Teaching: 27

Instrumental Music Students: 100

Proudest moment as an educator: My proudest moment was when my own children told me they were proud to be a part of this successful music program.

Making a difference in students’ lives: By helping students learn that excellence is not an accident; it comes from hard work, and it is worth the effort.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Do not count the hours that you work, and make sure every student has success.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Michael Knepper

Musselman High School

Inwood

Years at Current School: 12

Total Years Teaching: 14

Instrumental Music Students: 102

Proudest moment as an educator: I have many proud moments, which include [working with] several outstanding individuals. If I were to choose my proudest moments, they would be watching my students rush the field after winning each of their championships.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I want my students to have a flair for leadership so in life they never turn their back on any challenge or say they “can’t.” My desire is to teach them how to be larger than themselves and learn to cultivate their best qualities within a team.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The key to successful career in music education is to aesthetically rewire yourself for a new enthused freshman group and learn to reboot your heart after you say goodbye to your seniors.

 

WISCONSIN

Tom Reifenberg

Greendale High School

Greendale

Years at Current School: 13

Total Years Teaching: 13

Instrumental Music Students: 199

Proudest moment as an educator: I am fortunate in that my proudest moment occurs each year as students march out of the stadium following their state marching band performance. The looks of exhilaration, the sense of pride that the students display following a performance in which they left everything they had on the field – it is simply an awesome feeling each and every year.

Making a difference in students’ lives: Music is a lifelong skill, and the study of music not only enhances lives, but also teaches teamwork, dedication, emotional commitment, self-reflection, and expression. It is my hope that music students, regardless of ability level, graduate from the Greendale music program with an appreciation for all of what music brings to their lives.

Key to a successful career in music ed: Successful music educators find a place in their programs for all students, instilling the values of hard work and commitment while ensuring that their students are still having fun. If students are enjoying themselves in rehearsal, they will assuredly enjoy their performances, they will work hard for you no matter the amount of time, and your program will grow in both quantity and quality.

 

WYOMING

Dan Holroyd

East High School

Cheyenne

Years at Current School: 21

Total Years Teaching: 26

Instrumental Music Students: 115

Proudest moment as an educator: One of my proudest moments as educator is having my own children as part of our program. Being a parent and having the opportunity to watch your own children grow is a very cool experience.

Making a difference in students’ lives: I would like to help students know the joy of music and how to keep it a part of their lives. Music is a lifelong skill and passion; I hope that my students will understand that.

Key to a successful career in music ed: The best music educators know how to manage their time, get things done, and deal well with the stress of the job. To be in this profession for a long time you must find a way to manage stress and keep music part of your own life as well.

 



 


On the Road

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This year, our primary major band travel is for:

Festival Competitions - 42.5%
Public Performances - 30%
Educational Workshops - 5%
Some of All of the Above - 20%

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