Area of Study: Music Education
Current City: Horsham, PA
Graduation Date: 2003
Current Occupation: Band Director, North Penn School District
Why did you choose WCU and/or the School of Music?
West Chester was mentioned to me by my high school band director, Bob Barron. It was a strong recommendation since it was such a well-rounded school. I knew what I wanted to do and WCU seemed to be a perfect fit for both performance and education. I also felt comfortable on the campus because of it's location in the heart of West Chester.
How has the quality of education you received from WCU and/or School of Music prepared
you for life after graduation?
I feel that I was very much prepared for my career coming out of WCU. Having to take so many different classes throughout all 4 years, gave me a great foundation of knowledge. My first few years of teaching I really used a lot of my books and binders that we made in college, especially from my instrument classes and method classes.
What is a typical day like for you?
My typical teaching day consists of middle school band and group lessons. I teach 7th and 8th grade band at Penndale Middle School, and I direct the pit band for the musical. I also direct the NP High School Navy Jazz band, which is one of two HS jazz bands. I recently became the Department Chair for K-12 Instrumental Music as well.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
You absolutely MUST have a passion for what you do! In order to get your kids to do what NEEDS to be done, they must believe in you and completely respect you. Teaching music requires countless hours of EXTRA time and energy, which sometimes won't give you immediate results. You have to be willing to give it your all, at all times.
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
Get out there and stay busy! Make as many contacts and build as much experience as you can. Whether it be working with your old high school, teaching private lessons, or volunteering at a summer band camp, all experience is valuable experience! Also, I believe you really need to be the best musician you can be. Do not stop practicing your instrument when life gets busy. You need to be able to show kids the end of the pathway that you are building for them.
What makes the WCU School of Music standout to you?
I believe the WCU School of Music is one of the best on the East Coast! It has so much to offer, in all areas of music and music education. The connection with the community is really strong, which builds a great support system. Also, the professors are relevant in the music business, and they know what students need to succeed in today's climate. Students can participate in top-notch performing ensembles, while also developing strong educational practices.
When you were a student at WCU, did you do an internship and/or study abroad? If so,
describe those experiences.
I did not participate in a university-sponsored internship, however I was involved with a couple different programs within my field. For example, when I was a senior, I developed a Jazz Band II (Lab band) at a local high school. They had more than enough kids to fill one band, so it was a great learning experience for me to build a jazz band from scratch. Throughout my time at WCU, I also played with local cover/wedding bands, which allowed me to build on my career as a professional musician.
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or School of Music?
I'd have to say being a member of the Criterions Jazz Ensemble and going on tour at the end of each year. We would travel around to local schools/venues and perform for about a week. The life "on the road" was filled with nothing but laughs and funny stories.
What's the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your resume
Well, as much as I love the trumpet, I love being a father to my two amazing children more! I could not imagine my life without Lia and Roman, as well as my beautiful wife Lauren. Every day truly is a blessing, and I am extremely thankful our families that surround us.