I’m a family man that strives to live with passion in a world of possibilities, as Ben Zander would advocate. I’m grateful to have been happily married for over five years, and together we have two amazing sons. I was raised mostly in a Texas town that was built on an oil economy. My mom’s main profession growing up was a bar tender, and my dad has made his career in the oil field, where he started as a rig hand. I was lucky enough to be part of an amazing band program at a 5A school. I fell in love with music and band because of my high school band director, and eventually I realized that I wanted to make my contribution the same way that he did – through the power of music education.
I’m a small school band director in my second year of teaching. My first year was at an even smaller school (six man football!) where I was the only music teacher for the district, responsible for grades 1-12, including a 5th grade heterogeneous band class, 6th grade band, and 7-12 HS Band. I fell on my face during marching season, but quickly rebounded for a highly successful Spring semester that included my first Superior rating at UIL for Concert Contest, as well as advancing to the ATSSB Area round of the Outstanding Performance Series. The band went, in a year, from being the brunt of jokes around town to being something that was generating a great deal of excitement and pride. It was an extraordinarily tough, but rewarding rookie year. I was excited to go back until I was recruited by one of my best friends to help him turn around a previous state power house in Class AA. It was a much better teaching situation for me, and a far better situation for my wife and children, so I had to take it.
And that’s where I’m at right now. Our program is at a 2A (soon to be a 3A) district with 120 students at the middle school and another 80 at the high school. My role is to head the middle school program, which consists of 3 beginner classes and 2 bands, and assist at the high school. I’m grateful to work with one of my best friends, and am proud that we work as a team in all respects. The year is still young. The HS Band went from a 4th Division in marching last year to a 2nd Division this year, and when the MS Advanced Band gave their annual half time performance they got a great crowd response and a lot of feedback about how much they’ve already improved from last year. We’re working to continue that kind of progress throughout the entire program. As anyone who is turning a program around knows, it is a tough, grinding process. But it can also be an exciting thing to be part of!
I started this blog a few years ago, while still in college, as a form of reflection. But also I hope it will some day become something else. The thing is, I’m very passionate about teaching music. I want to be the best I can be. Reflecting helps me to improve. But also I hope this can become a resource for pre-service and young or otherwise struggling band teachers. I’m a long way from being a Jedi of Band, but I’ve been told I’m doing a lot of things right by my mentors. And while I don’t consider myself an authority, I also know that finding helpful details on teaching is rare, even if you go out and buy a bunch of books. I know because I’ve spent countless hours scouring the internet and hundreds of dollars over the past few years buying books! Hopefully this can help fill that void. Again, I’m not claiming to be an amazing band director, or a sage of any kind. But in the process of reflecting, and especially in reflecting on what we’re doing right, I hope that this will also become a helpful resource for other young band directors who are cutting their teeth, as well as for pre-service band teachers who are smart enough to realize they have no idea how to do this job!
Thanks for reading! I hope you find my blog interesting and helpful!