Teachers of New Jersey: Making Music and Memories in Ocean Township
NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to continue its Teachers of New Jersey series in 2017. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the series, it now comes out twice a month. This editorial series is curated by photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. These stories highlight the joys, struggles, and personal reflections that surround being a teacher.
“My mother made us all take piano for about two years. At the end of those two years, when I was in 4th grade, I picked the flute as my band instrument. In middle school I had an amazing band director, and I really believe that is why I am where I am now. He was really encouraging, and pushed me in leadership roles, and in middle school I also started taking private flute lessons. My flute teacher also played a lot of other instruments, and she challenged me to take up the bassoon — which was one of the best things she ever did. I picked up saxophone, trumpet and then clarinet along the way. In middle school and high school, I got involved in everything band-related. I was in the marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, and pit orchestra. I wanted to be a part of it all. I loved performing with an ensemble because of the times the music just clicked and you could feel the expression behind each piece.”
“I’m originally from Pennsylvania, but I moved to New Jersey when I got a job out here. Moving here I didn’t know many people, but I was looking forward to starting my job. After a long day of teaching, then staying up late lesson planning, I would sit down and play piano to decompress. I still perform with a wind ensemble and I play a few gigs here and there. It’s important to me that I’m still an actively performing musician—it helps me become a better teacher.”
“At my school now, the students in my classes choose to be in band. I believe that music helps them to learn to work together and listen. It helps them to focus and practice precision. As a musician, if you are off by a beat, you can throw off the entire band—so they become very detail-oriented.”
“My strongest memory of my time in school bands was my high school band’s trip to Ireland. I played piccolo in the marching band, and we marched in a parade through Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day. We competed against many other bands, and ended up winning ‘Best International Band.’ We spent the rest of the day exploring Dublin after the awards ceremony.”
“I’ve been teaching music for five years now. I love having students that work together, take initiative to learn their parts and challenge themselves, and clearly love making music. I’m very lucky that I get to do this every day.”