Where do you teach?
DeKalb High School in ILMEA District 8
What do you teach?
Marching Band, 130 students
Concert Band, 60 students
Wind Ensemble, 40 students
Jazz Ensemble, 20 students
Percussion Techniques, 20 students
Steel Band, 20 students
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Making a living through doing something that I love to do everyday.
What makes the music program at DeKalb High School unique?
We're unique for many reasons and always have a really hard time finding comparable schools. We have a very diverse student population, in every possible way you can be diverse. We really capitalize on all of the different things that all of these different people bring to our classroom. We're also pretty unique in many of our musical offerings. Very few schools have as many varied ensembles as we do (particularly if you consider the fact that we only have 2 full time teachers in our music department).
What do students get from the music program that they do not get anywhere else in school?
Music teaches the value of hard work perhaps as well or better than any subject ever. The concrete instant feedback you receive every time a student makes music is a constant affirmation of student progress and the successes of their work. It also teaches how to work with and value the contributions of others throughout the education process.
What are the top five reasons students are involved in music at DeKalb High School?
1. Our music program provides a sense of identity for our students.
2. Music puts something in their hands that has them actively learning for an entire class period.
3. Music opens a door to culture that cannot be experienced any other way.
4. Music allows them to feel successful as individuals and as a group.
5. Making music is fun.
How has ILMEA involvement benefitted music education at DeKalb High School?
Our students are incredibly involved with ILMEA. The level of rigor and high expectations set forth by the ILMEA audition process have driven our students to great heights. Additionally new programs, like FMES, have helped students make life changing decisions about career pursuits.
What are your educational goals for this year?
Every year the goal is to provide every student with a positive experience that encourages them to grow both as a musician and a person.
How do you incorporate assessment and standards-based learning in your music curriculum, and how does it benefit your students?
Our staff has worked tirelessly to align our courses with the new core arts standards and common core standards for reading and writing. We've expanded our educational approach to ensure that students cannot only play the music, but understand on much deeper levels and can discuss it with a deeper sense of what each piece is about. This approach often develops a deeper sense of what it means to make music and why music has been a part of the human experience throughout recorded history.
Please share something with new teachers that you have found helpful in your life.
Don't freak out- it will be ok- not always what you want, but do your best and the rest will take care of itself.