This summer, while in Chesterfield County, I had the privilege to spend time and work with some extremely dedicated and talented music educators. Virginia has always been an intriguing place to me. Most musicians that I've met that have come from Virginia all the way to Texas have been world-class people, performers, and teachers. It was extremely refreshing to learn that several folks over there share many of my philosophies and appreciate the validation that comes from someone that lives halfway across the country and has a completely different education and pedagogical journey.
The idea that a student-centric approach to marching band design, planning, and implementation is reassuring; it's not secret that I've been a little bit disenchanted about how band program are put together and run, but being over here makes me feel so much better. The students are set up to get everything they need to succeed, and because of that, I've noticed a huge change in just the short time I was there. A month isn't quite long enough to completely change a culture, but empowering the students to create their own environment in which to grow is almost always my goal. The students I taught at Clover Hill and L.C. Bird high school are really taking charge to make band a more fun and fulfilling experience for themselves and their peers joining them over the next couple of years. This was a special month!
Many thanks to Marcus Grant, Buddy Deshler, Brianna Gatch, Mason Gatch, Vincent Guzman, and Charles Brown for working with me this month and showing the students that they are worth our time.
I look forward to working in Chesterfield County next year!
Check out the progress these young folks have made!