Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Timothy Hargrove

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Timothy Hargrove. Tim is an elementary school counselor in Chesapeake, VA

Timothy Hargrove

What instrument do you play?

Alto/Tenor Saxophone, Flute/Piccolo

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

10

Why did you start playing?

Peer Pressure! In middle school, unlike how they do it now by paper schedules, we had the chance to choose electives by going to the class and learning more and asking questions. A few of my friends talked me into going with them to the band elective, I really didn't know what I wanted to do, so I was easily influenced. 

When I got home that afternoon, I told my mom I wanted to play saxophone. Like any great mom she made the sacrifice to rent a saxophone from Music & Arts. It came with a disclaimer, "You are going to play this saxophone, through middle school, high school, college, church, solos etc!".

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

I always loved music class, piano (not the best at that), singing, listening anything related. Just helped to pass time, clear my head and release stress. 

In elementary school, we had music class and it wasn't until middle school that I really fell more in love with all aspects of music, the love grew deeper throughout the middle school years into my high school years.

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Although I can't name a favorite...

My high school band director, John Jenkins, definitely motivated me and encouraged me to be and do better. It was in high school where my leadership ability starting to grow more and more and I know it was because of his influence.

Moving into college the NSU Band Staff  (The Dream Team) continued to shape me into a musician and leader and I really don't know who I would be without the push they gave me.

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

I can't choose just one memory! I enjoyed marching band - games, competitions. I also enjoyed the symphonic band & orchestra, performing for crowds. However, I did enjoy our New York trip in high school to perform in memorial of 9/11.

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

I continued to play Saxophone in college. Music definitely impacted my college choice. I attended Norfolk State University - came from a family of Spartans (BEHOLD)!!!  The first time I remember seeing the marching band, the Spartan "Legion", I was impressed, attended a spring band camp and fell deeper in love with the program. I was not a music major but participated in concert band, symphonic band, Saxophone Choir, Saxophone Quartet, & flute choir.

What is your current occupation?

I am an elementary school counselor in Chesapeake, VA. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

My love for music helps me relate to my students who also have a love for music, whether playing instruments, singing in the choir or just because they love whats on the radio -- I can relate!

Sometimes when I have a student who is upset I play music and that opens their ears which tends to have the ask questions which calms them down then I can assist them in turning a bad moment of their day into a good one.

How has music played a part in your adult life?

As an adult, I volunteer with the Booker T. Washington High School (Norfolk, VA) Marching Bookers on the band staff as woodwind coordinator. I also serve as an assistant band staff member for the NSU Spartan "Legion" working with the woodwinds and recruitment team.

I have made lifelong friends because of the experiences I have had with music and being part of musical ensembles.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD! Learn all you can while you are young, pick up multiple instruments, study them and grow. Music is more than an elective/activity in school. It truly is an art form that can lead you places you would never imagine. Love and enjoy every musical opportunity experience you have in life!

Continue to support Music & Arts in the schools. It is important and vital to the development of students. Student need an array of avenues to express themselves! Just like academics and athletics, Music & Arts is a way for them to do just that!

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Jasmine Mitchell

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Jasmine Mitchell. Jasmine works in the health care field doing administrative work for an urgent care facility.

Jasmine Mitchell

What instrument do you play?

Trumpet/Flag

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

11

Why did you start playing?

I started playing because my older brother was in the band starting in middle school and he really enjoyed and I thought it was something I would definitely like to do. 

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

Elementary school was very minimal. We played recorders and switched percussion type instruments each week. Middle school is where I actually learned to play the trumpet and was in concert band for one year. However, middle school only lasted two years because of a city switch over from junior high to middle school. Then when I got to high school I no longer played an instrument but became a flag girl and continued through college. 

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

While I did not take band as a class in high school, Ronald Collins Sr. was one of the best teachers of music I know. I watched him with the students during band practice and he wasn't always the most patient but was definitely helpful and made sure you knew what you were doing. However it was Mr. Collins who saw the potential in me to be a section leader which earned me bandsmen of the year my senior year. 

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

Well grade school was so long ago... however, my music teacher in grade school was the best. I only had him in the 6th grade. Mr Wolf was his name. He was a very free spirit and wanted to make sure that whatever instrument you had for the week it was the one you wanted and felt comfortable with. He was open to trading instruments so that all the children in the class were happy learning.

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

In college I took private lessons on the trumpet again, but, I never played outside of them. I was always interested in playing again but I never had the chance and being in color guard was so much more fun I didn't want to leave the section. 

I went to Norfolk State because I had to stay in the area to go to school. I honestly did not know anything about show style band as I went to a corp style high school. However, I knew I wanted to continue marching and was very pleased with the decision I made to join the Spartan Legion at NSU.

What is your current occupation?

I am currently working in the health care field doing administrative work for a local urgent care facility.

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

Music has always been a large part of life but being in the band is what really impacted me. I learned one of the greatest lessons that any adult can have which is time management. 

How has music played a part in your adult life?

I was the flag coordinator at Phoebus High School and the Assistant Band Director/Flag Coordinator at Surry Co. High School for one year each. Those experiences have been a great part of my life as an adult. While it was not my major in school, it was something that I still wanted to do. I was grateful for the opportunity to help out my friends and still be a part of marching band which is something I hold very dear to my heart. 

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Keep playing. Never ever stop playing. Master your craft. The love of music can take you so far and teach you so many different life skills, all of which you will need to make it in life. The art of music is so under appreciated and the talent of young musicians can bring back to life the art form that is being slowly diminished in our schools. So grab a friend and bring them into in the bond that is the love of music and go far together.

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Juan B. Lascano, Jr.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Juan B. Lascano, Jr. Juan is a teacher at Charlotte Learning Academy in Charlotte, NC and a graduate student at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education. 

Juan B. Lascano, Jr. 

What instrument do you play?

Trumpet and French Horn 

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

6th Grade 

Why did you start playing?

I was always interested in the music that my mother and father would play around the house, but I started playing the recorder in elementary school, which started my interest in music. That following year, my aunt persuaded my parents to place me into a music program in middle school. It was then that I acquired a passion for music and the sound of brass instruments. 

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

My initial involvement with music started in middle school with the jazz band. I remember when we played a song by Norah Jones that was being played on the radio. It felt cool to play music that was playing on the radio. When I joined the high school marching band we started playing popular radio songs more often, and that was a great experience for me. I was excited to see the crowd respond to our songs, dances, and formations on the field. Peers would tell us about how much they enjoyed our halftime shows and would express interest in joining the band because we were a family. I wouldn't trade my high school band experience for the world, for many of the friends I met at my high school are my lifelong friends today. Without the bonding nature of music, I wouldn't have met the brothers that I call my friends today. 

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Edward Woodis was my favorite music teacher! His teachings still guide me through my everyday life as a teacher and adult in society. I remember learning about the circle of fifths, chord progression, and true musicianship while being a member of the concert, jazz and marching band programs at Nansemond River High School. I remember him showing us videos of his college days playing the tuba, and that served as a motivating factor to get into college to join a college band. In addition, he worked hard to give us access to National Band Competitions and parades across the nation. We traveled to Georgia, North Carolina, Washington DC, and other states, which opened my eyes to the joys of traveling with music programs. 

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

My favorite band memory was when I marched in my high school band battle against I.C. Norcom High School. This was one of the best band battles that I participated in while in high school because we were able to showcase our strength as a band in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Prior to this battle, I.C. Norcom was the reigning champions of the National High Step Band Competition. I remember marching into the high school gym and hearing the fans cheer. We battled for 3 hours and at the end of the battle the fans were able to decide on the victor. This battle introduced me to the intensity of HBCU band battles, and really increased my interest in playing in a college band once I graduated. 

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

When applying to colleges as a senior at Nansemond River High School, I auditioned to play trumpet and french horn at North Carolina A&T University, Bethune-Cookman College, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, and Howard University. I was offered a music scholarship at every school that I auditioned; however, I chose to accept the Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences scholarship at Norfolk State University. This scholarship was a rigorous 4-year academic program, so I was unable to march with the Spartan Legion. Although I did not pick up my trumpet in college, I did continue to record music and produce music in my spare time in the dorm. 

What is your current occupation?

I am a teacher at Charlotte Learning Academy in Charlotte, NC. I am also a graduate student at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education where I am receiving my Masters of Science Degree in Education with a concentration in Secondary Studies. In addition, I serve a community leader in various community-based organizations that include O.N.E. Charlotte, Profound Gentlemen, and The Collective-Charlotte. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

In addition to teaching biology, earth science, and physical science, I teach a creative writing class at my high school where I am able to assist students with song structure and music production. We currently have 20 students enrolled in the class, and they find joy in creating science songs related to the content that I am teaching. Students are assigned roles that include an A&R, a publicist, and a marketing director. Each of these students plays a role in ensuring that our music is marketed to the proper market and that their music is creative enough to attract the attention of their peers. This course teaches students about the music business and the hard work that goes into creating a business on their own. 

How has music played a part in your adult life?

As an adult, I have started a collection of vinyl record due to the pristine recording that occurred in the early 70s. I now use my spare time to create music with the use of my MPC- Renaissance, and ASR-10 sampling synthesizer. As a teacher and graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, I use music as a release from my long days. There is nothing more relaxing than coming home and listening to the melodic sounds of Ahmad Jamal, the groovy bass lines of Wes Montgomery, or the rich brass sounds of Lee Morgan. It's something about the equipment and techniques that were used between 1968-1973 that made their music sound organic and pure. I use sampling as a way to mesh those sounds of yesterday with the sounds of today's popular music.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Keep striving for your goals. The arts and music are a lost passion in today's society due to the increased demand for science, engineering, and technology; however, music is an essential component to student growth and maturity. I think that it is important for striving musicians to know that they are fully capable of making a living from music if they are willing to work at their craft. Although I am not making a living as a musician, I would encourage those students to continue to work towards their goals and aspirations without letting anyone deter their vision. 

I currently teach high school science, and although I do not play my trumpet as often as I would like, I used music as a teaching device for my students to retain science content. I have attached the link to our SoundCloud page and my personal sound cloud page below. 

www.soundcloud.com/speakcla
www.soundcloud.com/jboscobeats

Recent Podcast

http://theteachingexperiencepodcast.com/2016/03/episode-23-juan-lascano/

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Robert L. Edwards

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Robert L. Edwards. Robert is a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Johnson C. Smith University and a business consultant. 

Robert L. Edwards

What instrument do you play?

Trumpet, Baritone

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

8

Why did you start playing?

My grandfather was a musician, so I decided to follow in his footsteps. 

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

In elementary school, my cousins and I used to play a game called “parade” because we were fascinated with marching bands. We used trash can tops as cymbals and sticks for maces. Our imaginations were huge.

In middle school, I joined the band because I wanted to be able to march in the marching band when I joined high school. My first instrument was the horn. I switched to trumpet the next year. By 9th grade, I was actually able to join the marching band.

In high school, I played baritone. I made first chair district band that year and was able to audition for All State band. The next year, I played trumpet and made district band again. The following year, I made first chair district band and auditioned for All State on the trumpet. High school is also where I was first given the chance to arrange music for a band. 

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Mr. Kenneth Woodley. He motivated me and helped me to be the person that I am. It's because of him that I understand music the way I do now. He helped me to apply to college, also influencing my choice of school. Because he was a father figure to me, he went the extra mile to go as far as to assist me with filling out the college application and, to this day, I think he is the one that paid my senior dues that year, too. I had saved up all of my change. Went to my guidance counselor to pay my dues and she told me they were taken care of. I know they both looked out for me. 

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

Everything. But, if I had to pick one, when I was in 11th grade one of the tuba players (our resident prankster) made a trombone player eat a chocolate covered cricket. She thought it was a regular piece of candy. When she found out that it was a cricket, she froze. Then she started rocking back and forth. After a few seconds of rocking, she got up, picked up a stand and hit him  upside the head with it. I will never forget that. 

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

Yes, I played the trumpet at Norfolk State University. As I said earlier, my high school band director influenced my college choice. 

What is your current occupation?

Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Johnson C. Smith University and business consultant. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

Music is my current occupation. It was in college that my band director, Dr. Sanford, told me that I was a jack of all trades and master of none. I was trying to do everything freshman year. I was a part of every organization on campus. His words helped me to focus myself. Because of my newfound focus on music, I was given the opportunity to arrange for the marching band. My arrangements caught the attention of other college band directors and I was able to obtain my first college job as Music Instructor and Assistant Director of Bands at Shaw University at the age of 25 because of it. 

How has music played a part in your adult life?

I’ve had the chance to help others better themselves through music, whether it's in their current occupations or through the opportunity to go to college through scholarships. I also use music as a vehicle to guide students to develop their communication and soft skills that will assist them when they seek employment and other opportunities after graduation. 

What advice do you have for young musicians?

If you want to go into music as a profession, you have to make sure you stay on your craft. Find a way to make yourself stand out from the other musicians. The only way to do that is to be yourself. Be humble. Study to perfect your practice so that you know what you are doing.

 

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Akeem Harris

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Akeem Harris. Akeem is a Liability Determination Adjuster with Allstate.

Akeem Harris

What instrument do you play?

Saxophone, Violin, Viola, Oboe, Piano, Flute

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

5

Why did you start playing?

My parents introduced me into the world of music at a very young age, 5, with the violin and it just grew from there.

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

During Elementary School, I was playing the violin and piano and taking lessons at Peabody Preparatory. Middle School was the same thing. In High School, I ended up picking up the oboe, playing in Woodlawn High School Jazz Band, Marching Band and Symphonic Band and also with the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra. I also had the opportunity to travel to the Ivory Coast in West Africa with the Woodlawn/Milford Mill Academy High School Jazz Bands.

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Ms. Stephanie K Sanders. She had awesome ways of motivating me and pushing me past my limits as a saxophone player. She cared about you as a person along with your musical abilities.

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

My favorite memory from grade school was being able to get 5 notes out of my saxophone, lol.

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

I played, Saxophone, Violin, and Oboe at Hampton and Norfolk State University. It impacted both schools I attended. The late, great Barney E. Smart gave me a scholarship for the oboe at Hampton and I had exposure to Norfolk's music program and I saw good things there as well.

Akeem Pic.jpg

What is your current occupation?

Liability Determination Adjuster with Allstate.

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

It's a great conversation piece.

How has music played a part in your adult life?

In my adult life, it has been huge. It has allowed me to play with the UP Praise Team at Providence Baptist Church, various choirs at church, Baltimore's Marching Ravens, The Fort Washington Symphonic Winds, Hunt Valley Symphony Orchestra and other gigs. It keeps me grounded and focused and is a release from stress and tension. 

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Don't let anyone destroy your dreams or put you in a musical box. I had teachers and others say, "You play too many instruments" or, "You can't be in all these different ensembles". As long as you have drive and dedication you can achieve it all. 

Akeem is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Pi Beta) Hampton U and
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity INC (DZ) ( Nu Sigma Sigma). 

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Music in Our Schools Profile: Stephanie K. Sanders

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Stephanie K. Sanders. Stephanie is an Assistant Professor of Music, Associate Director of Bands, and Jazz Ensembles Director at Norfolk State University (VA).

Stephanie K. Sanders

What instrument do you play?

Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Saxophone, Bassoon and Piano

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

12

Why did you start playing?

I had a great band teacher that pushed me to take a music entrance test and made sure I wanted to play whatever my heart desired!

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

I participated in band in the 5th grade, played in the Symphonic band in junior high and then played in Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Choir in high school.

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Laura Hunter was my favorite teacher for introducing me to the world of classical saxophone and I also had never seen a woman play as great as she did. My other great mentor was Conrad Johnson who introduced me to the world of jazz in all its forms!

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

My favorite memory in band during junior high school was going to the state contest in the 6th grade! I made a Superior rating and I was overjoyed!

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

I played bassoon in wind ensemble, orchestra and woodwind ensemble and played saxophone in jazz ensemble while attending Jackson State University. Music and the HBCU experience were my impacts for my college choice... And a full scholarship too!

What is your current occupation?

Assistant Professor of Music/Associate Director of Bands/Jazz Ensembles Director at Norfolk State University (VA).

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

I live and breathe music everyday and I also love my profession which makes it a pleasure to come to work everyday and impact students' lives.

How has music played a part in your adult life?

I perform with the symphony as Principal Bassoonist as well as play in a Jazz/RnB Band.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Practice, have a passion to succeed and want to know as much about music as if your life depended on it. It is a struggle at times, but perseverance pays off in the end!

Facebook: Stephanie K. Sanders (The Musician)

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Karen Waddell

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Karen Waddell. Karen is the Director of Bands and Elementary Music Teacher at the Academy for Discovery at Lakewood in Norfolk, VA. 

Karen Waddell

What instrument do you play?

Flute, Bassoon, and Bari Sax

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

7

Why did you start playing?

My mom was a band director, and I was always begging to play some of the instruments she had around the house. An older gentleman at my church heard me asking one Sunday, and gave me a flute that his daughter played when she was little. I spent three years playing flute before switching to the bassoon. In high school, my marching band needed a baritone saxophone player, so I stepped up to fill the void. 

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

When I received my flute at 7, I began to learn to play my flute by ear. I picked up my flute and learned "Angels We Have Heard on High" within a few days. When my mom heard me play along with the recording, she started to give me my first lessons. My first band classes began in fourth grade, when I switched to bassoon. I studied bassoon all the way through middle school before switching to bari sax for marching band my freshman year in high school. I played bassoon through high school for concert season, and played bari sax for marching and eventually jazz band. Along with band, I participated in the Madrigal choir and sang in church. 

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

I loved having my mother as my music teacher, and I learned so much from her. However, we didn't always get along, and I had problems separating the teacher from my mom, so she would normally find different teachers for me. During my first three years of college, John Windings was my teacher for everything music related. As the head of the music department at Shawnee Community College, John taught all of the band, chorus, private lesson, music history, and music theory classes. As much as I learned musically from him, I also learned life skills and lessons from him. John was a notoriously tough teacher, but tough only when you needed him to be. John refused to take anything less than your best, and pushed you to find the best musician and person you could be.He always finds the humor in everything, and kept spirits high. I try to be that person for my students. A motivator, a friend, and someone's favorite teacher. 

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

Band not only gives a musical stress relief, but also comical relief many times as well. My teacher, Mrs. Ozier, stopped us one day in fourth grade rehearsal to correct some of our mistakes. While she was talking, she noticed a fly land on the top of her coffee cup. She told us that the best way to kill a fly was to clap above the fly, but the trick was to not knock the fly into the coffee. We literally stopped and watched her kill the fly and successfully keep it from falling into her coffee! Still to this day, I remember that every time I see a fly somewhere I don't want it to be!

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

During college, I played flute for my first two years of marching band, along with bassoon in concert band. After moving to Norfolk with my husband when he was first stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, I knew I had to find a school with a quality music program that would take me to my end goal of my music education degree. I auditioned at Norfolk State University with Ms. Stephanie Sanders, and I immediately felt at home. When the offer came through of a full scholarship, I knew it was meant to be! I not only earned my Bachelor's of Music Education through Norfolk State, but returned a year after graduation to begin my Master's in Music Education as well. 

What is your current occupation?

I am the Director of Bands and Elementary Music Teacher at the Academy for Discovery at Lakewood. ADL is the new Project Based Learning 3rd through 8th grade school in Norfolk. We are a International Baccalaureate Candidate school, and look forward to seeing what the school will succeed in the future due to the large administrative support of the music program!

How has music played a part in your adult life?

Music is my life! Being able to share my love of music with my students makes my job not feel like work at all! I wake up every day looking forward to seeing my students and sharing something new about music with them every day. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to teach elementary music along with middle school band. I truly get to see the cycle of musicianship continue through middle school, and I love seeing the light bulb moments with my students of all ages. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

Music truly is my life. Music is not only what I do, but it is what makes me happy. Through my singing and ability to play instruments, I find my sense of peace. I express my joy, sorrow, anger, and worries through my music. I also use my music to praise God for all the gifts He has given me. Music has given me my career. Music has taught me the self discipline, balance, scheduling, and professionalism that has landed me jobs and a spot in a competitive doctoral program. Finally, in the last three years, I have been able to share music with my daughter, and help her explore herself through music. 

What advice do you have for young musicians?

My favorite advice to give my students is to remember that music is unlike anything you will ever do in your life. Music is something that will teach you so many lessons, build you up, tear you down, and make you work harder than you have ever imagined. You will chase perfection, and sometimes will doubt what you are doing. However, music will reward you in ways that you will never imagine if you see it through. Stick through the hard times and you will see the rewards!


 

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Shawn Zachery

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it had on their lives

Today, we feature Shawn Zachery. Shawn is an IT Systems Analyst.

Shawn Zachery

What instrument do you play?

Clarinet, Dance

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

9

Why did you start playing?

My entire immediately family is musical. Everyone played instruments or was involved in music or marching bands in some way. My father was an incredible music enthusiast. My mother was a majorette at Southern University in the 50s. My sister played piano and flute. My brother played Trombone in the SU Marching Band and was recognized by being selected to the McDonald's All American Band while in High School. I grew up with the family of Dr. Isaac Greggs, legendary director of the Southern University Marching Band. So it was normal that I would want to play an instrument. It was expected that I would play an instrument. 

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

I started playing the clarinet in 4th grade because it was the only instrument that my mother could borrow for me. We couldn't afford to buy an instrument. I didn't really realize how good I could become until Middle School under the tutelage of Ms. Colette Riha. She was able to make me a really good clarinet player and cultivated my love for instrumental music. In High School, I joined the marching band and played in the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, where I ultimately became section leader. The cool thing was that I was learning under my second female band director. Ms. Catherine Heard was like a 2nd mother to me. She taught me a lot more than music. And since my mother was busy working and couldn't always make our performances, Ms. Heard took me under her wing. She taught me how to be a leader. She identified me as someone that she could trust to do just about anything. I played in the horn line my Freshman year but she asked me to twirl flag because she felt I would be good at it. I didn't want to twirl flag because I had set my sights on being Drum Major and felt that being on the Flag Corp wouldn't allow me to do that. However, even as a Flag twirler, I received the most votes from my peers and was named Drum Major of my marching band my senior year. I was the first African American Drum Major in the history of Baker High School in Baker, LA. I also was honored to be selected for the Louisiana All-State Concert Band and the Ark-La-Tex Tri-State Honor Band my senior year at Baker High. 

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Ms. Catherine Heard was, by far, my favorite music teacher. She didn't hold back or give me special treatment. She always pushed me and had very high expectations for me. She entrusted me to grow into a leader and was always there to correct me when I was going in the wrong direction. Her efforts to turn me into a leader were more memorable than anything she taught me musically. 

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

My favorite band memory from grade school was at Baker High School when I auditioned for and was selected for the Louisiana All-State Band. I was the only one from my school that was selected that year. My band friends got an idea in their heads, drove to my neighborhood (in the "Black" part of town) and tee-pee'd my house and front yard with toilet paper and a huge sign that said "Congratulations! We love you". I will NEVER forget that. My neighbors actually watched them tee-pee my house and yes, I had to clean it up all by myself the next day.  

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

Music did not impact my college choice because oddly enough, my college choice did not have women in the marching band at the time, and I chose to go there anyway, knowing that I'd only get to play in Concert Band. I did continue to play clarinet in Southern's concert band although I wanted to march so badly!! I was section leader and the guys did not like that at all. But I guess it was all for a good reason because I was introduced to HBCU Dance while at Southern. I kind of accidentally became a Dancing Doll, which was the start of me doing what I love to this day. 

What is your current occupation?

Currently I am an IT Systems Analyst. After majoring in Computer Science I started my career at IBM and I've been in the field for almost 28 years. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

Music has helped me to be more analytical and organized which is a must in this field. In music, you learn  how to interpret non-verbal communication which has helped me on projects where I have been a supervisor or manager. Music helps you with memorization and other cognitive skills needed for this field. Most importantly, music is my outlet from what can sometimes be a stressful field. 

How has music played a part in your adult life?

I'm still involved in music today. It's the one thing that I can count on to put me at ease when I'm stressed, make me feel happy when I'm down. I'm still involved with marching bands as a dance team coach. I absolutely LOVE marching bands. It gives me something to look forward to. I also still play my clarinet in small ensembles for small performances for special occasions. I'll continue to play for as long as I can. 

What advice do you have for young musicians?

Stick with it. Truly learn and perfect your craft. Don't give up because the beginning of learning how to play an instrument may seem boring at first, or may move too slowly for today's millennial. It's not always instant gratification. It takes time and dedication. But it's TOTALLY worth it. Playing all those whole notes and scales may not get you the applause you're looking for, but it will make you the absolute best musician around. Find joy in getting better with each lesson. 

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: DeShawn Mays

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be highlighting people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature DeShawn Mays. DeShawn is a retail sales associate and technician for Batteries Plus Bulbs. He is also a full time musician at Second Calvary Baptist Church. 

What instrument do you play?

Trumpet and Bass Guitar

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

11

Why did you start playing?

Honestly, I joined the elementary band just to get out of class, lol! In 6th grade, I was very bored and just wanted to find an escape, so band was it. I took advantage of that moment and 13 years later, I'm still taking advantage of it.

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

Elementary school, I really didn't have much experience with music. I started in late April, so, I really did not have much time with music. It was in middle school when things really started for me. I joined the high school marching band and struggled for almost an entire year trying to keep up with the others. I was determined to do so,  though. By the time I reached high school, I was playing with no problems and even started challenging the older trumpet players just to make myself better and to show that I was serious about playing.

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

My favorite music teacher is most definitely Ms. Sanders from Norfolk State University. She doesn't know it but she encouraged me so much to be better than I was the previous day. Ms. Sanders gave me my start on bass guitar a year ago and since then I have been performing so much more. She is most definitely my favorite music teacher because she cared so much about me even when I wanted to give up on myself.

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

My favorite memory from grade school has to be the night I played my first double G. We were at a basketball game against our rival high school and both bands were going at it in the stands. We played " And Then What" and I hit this G and it was so clean and loud. It rang across the entire gym. The next day, I had a lot of my friends from the rival band texting me about it.

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

Music really did impact my choice of colleges that I wanted to attend. I am a student at Norfolk State University and it was their music department that made me want to go there. Since starting my journey at NSU, I have played trumpet in the trumpet ensemble, jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, and the gospel choir. I've played bass in the jazz ensemble and a few times for the Performance workshop class. 

What is your current occupation?

My current occupation is retail sales associate and technician for Batteries Plus Bulbs. With that position, I run sales on  the floor as well as work on all Apple product repairs. Also, I am a full time musician at Second Calvary Baptist Church. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

With working in retail, your day can be very stressful. You meet a lot of people and not all of them are nice. Music has helped me stay sane. I listen to music everyday and I make sure to listen to music when i get frustrated.

How has music played a part in your adult life?

Being an adult means that I have a lot of bills to pay, lol. I work two full time jobs and still perform on a regular basis just to make sure that all of my bills are kept up. With growing in age comes responsibility and music has been a big help with teaching me responsibility.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

For every young musician reading this....NEVER give up on yourself. You never know who is looking up to you. Even when you feel alone just remember that music will always be there. Believe in yourself and stay humble. Humility will take you far in life.

Instagram: chad_buhtz831
email: dmmays831@gmail.com
Band email: JaDeRay2016@gmail.com

If you are ever looking for a band to perform at a function do not feel hesitant to contact me.
Currently working on a website. 

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: DeAndrea Norris

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be highlighting people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature DeAndrea Norris. DeeDee is an Entrepreneur and an IT Relationship Manager for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. 

DeAndrea Norris

What instrument do you play?

Clarinet


At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

10


Why did you start playing?

In Elementary School, the music teachers were introducing kids to different instruments. I asked my parents if I could join the band and they said, "Sure!" At the recommendation of my Elementary School Band Director, I started playing the clarinet.


What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

I had the BEST music experience during Elementary, Junior High and High School! It was work, but it was FUN! The Band Directors really took pride in not only teaching us how to play our instruments technically, but how to listen and play with our hearts as an ensemble. They taught us to be the best all the time - on stage, on the marching field, in our other classes - ALL THE TIME. They taught us to be on time - translation...5 minutes early. They encouraged friendly competition with others in band, both in our own school and in other local, regional and state schools. They taught us confidence and to have a winner's mentality.  


Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Oh gosh - I really would rather not single anyone out, as I was so incredibly fortunate to have the best music teachers! 

Mr. Pease, my Junior High Band Director, really did lay the foundation though - don't be late, be proud to be a part of the band, speak positively, have each others back no matter what, lift each other up instead of tear each other down, know your part musically and don't be the weakest link, etc. 

Mr. Sharps was my High School teacher and he and Mr. Pease were good friends. Mr. Sharps would often come to my Junior High School to see what was going on with the band, so he knew what to expect when we moved up to High School. I felt like the Band Directors were always thinking about us...always a step ahead of the game to make sure we all maximized our potential.

Mr. Asercion (Rest In Peace) was my private clarinet teacher. He was a world-renowned clarinet soloist, with several music accolades. We practiced the basics at every lesson for the first 10 minutes or so and then transitioned to very challenging pieces for the last 30 minutes - he stretched me all the time to be better. 

Each of the men above were such great role models for us to follow. Not only were they great leaders, but they are/were also great musicians. Instead of just telling students how something should be played, they would often demonstrate on their own instruments... leading by example! 


What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

One of my (many) favorite band memories was traveling to Orlando, FL for a band competition and playing the clarinet solo in a piece called "Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna" by Alfred Reed...IN FRONT OF ALFRED REED HIMSELF. He was a judge (no pressure, right??). It was definitely a once in a lifetime type of experience and I received the Best Soloist award. 


Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

I continued playing the clarinet throughout college at James Madison University, where I got Bachelors Degrees in Music Industry and Computer Information Systems. Music definitely influenced my college choice - James Madison University has a phenomenal marching band and music program. 


What is your current occupation?

I am currently an Entrepreneur and an IT Relationship Manager for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. 


How has music helped you in your current occupation?

I believe music has definitely helped me in my career. In addition to playing clarinet, I was a Section Leader and a Drum Major in Junior High and High School, which gave me the opportunity to step up as leader. The trust, discipline and commitment learned and needed in these roles have definitely applied throughout my business and career to date. 


How has music played a part in your adult life?

Although I don't play the clarinet anymore, the knowledge and skills I learned in band will always apply to my adult life. I really hope my daughter will someday want to play an instrument, when she gets older!


What advice do you have for young musicians?

Keep playing... even when you get older, keep playing! Find a community band... play in church... form your own band... just keep playing!  

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