I'm a composer, full-time music teacher from pre-k3 to grade 12, a periodic conductor at times, an ensemble leader at other times, a fraudulent poet (ha), and more. Teaching general music, middle school and high school courses for the first time after completing my masters degree in music composition was quite a terrifying and jarring experience. I had been teaching music theory for years for graduate and undergraduate levels and I tutored other music related subjects as demanded. While very unexpected, I developed an esteemed tutoring reputation and gained longtime friends during my graduate study. Afterward, I was taking a leap of faith and going off the path of continued education towards a DMA. I still plan to get that some day.
My composition interest began when I was in 3rd grade. I learned music literacy through my interest in drawing. I drew books of mazes, custom trading card concepts, designed my own detailed Super Mario 64 levels (yes, random), and many other things. I designed made-up instruments; I drew manuscript/notes on notebook paper, and eventually I started writing notes on actual manuscript paper. I started playing around with a mini Casio keyboard, studied the basic chords (major, minor, diminished, augmented), and started instantly memorizing the information. My right hand almost naturally played different melodies. I still remember figuring out how the full-chord and short hand one or two finger shorthand Casio-chord accompaniments worked. I learned to write down pretty notes visually, but musically it probably didn't sound too great, nor too bad. Eventually, I'll make more improvements going into middle school, which I'll explain some time later.
For this Blog:
I'm going to focus on many things. I want to discuss myself as a composer, provide some insight into projects, and describe my composition process and how I started using a sketch book in grad school. I also would like to talk about my teaching endeavors and the complex mix of being a composer of music, some pieces in many cases that would be too complex for any of my students to comprehend or enjoy, while also being a teacher focussing on providing a fun experience for children as little as 3 years old. This mixed bag was quite tricky for me.
Lastly, I've been introduced to running a steel band ensemble, which for me was initially quite tricky teaching by rote. I had to reduce my vocabulary and teach students to respond to my vocabulary. I had to learn how they interpreted my feedback. Yet, I found my students growing in ways that really made an impact on me.
Hopefully, this blog will be a unique exploration into the world of a music teacher that moonlights as a secret composer.
The composer in the shadows O_O