Our Spotlight on Outstanding Teachers
Today: Daniel Schweichler, Music
Meet the Champions shines a spotlight on outstanding teachers, and how
they make a difference. Right here on the Quick Key Blog, we will be
interviewing real working teachers from around the globe, who make a
difference in their classrooms every day.
Our second spotlight is on Daniel Schweichler, a band musician, technician, and classroom teacher. Dan is just finishing his first year in the classroom as a teacher of both his high school’s band, and guitar. He is an Eagle Scout, and also a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity.
We selected Dan for our spotlight because of his passion for the craft of teaching, and for his avid use of technology in his daily music lessons…not an area of study where we expected to see technology playing a key role! But then again, why not use technology to teach music? As Dan explains, there is a substantial number of valuable resources available to music teachers who open the door to technology in their classroom, or (ahem), concert hall.
So, without further ado, let’s Meet a Champion!
DBE: Why did you choose to become a teacher?
DS: I had always known I wanted to be a teacher. I had a knack for taking a concept that people did not understand, and making it into something that they could comprehend. I knew, however, that I wanted to teach Music in high school. My band teacher helped me realize that music was a very strong passion of mine and that I had an excitement for it. He helped me realize that it was what I was meant to teach.
DBE: What is the biggest highlight from your classroom this year?
DS: I came in to this program half way through the school year after the previous director had chosen to leave and I was left with a band program that was every which way but straight. Choosing to only produce only one concert and one festival for the semester, we had a lot of time to grow together. The concert day showed up, and the students performed a concert like they hadn’t seen in years. All of the work we had done together allowed them to perform some difficult music, and even premiere a new piece by an up-and-coming composer. They were proud of their work, and so was I.
DBE: Tell us about a teacher who inspired you. How did they do it? What made them great?
DS: Scott Burgener. Easily one of the best band directors in the State of Arizona. Mr. Burgener was my band director throughout high school, and [if] it were not for this man, I would never have become the teacher I am today. There are many others out there who pushed me to keep going when times were tough, but it all falls back to this man. His dedication, passion, and love for making music inspired me to jump into the world of band teachers.
DBE: How do you use technology in your classroom?
DS: I am lucky in that the high school band classroom is built to utilize technology. There is so much out in the musical world that I can use to supplement my daily curriculum. From music composition software like Sibelius and GarageBand, to assessment with programs like SmartMusic and QuickKey!
DBE: What is really hard about teaching, and how do you deal with it?
DS: There are two things when talking about Fine Arts Programs. One, is the funding. There is never enough money. (However, this is true for almost all programs.) My classroom cannot be run with out musical instruments. Without it, I don’t have a band classroom. I need to be able to purchase the thousands of dollars worth of instruments to provide the students the opportunity to experience music making opportunities.
The second issue is program support. Without artistic expression, many students would not graduate from high school. Academics and Fine Arts are two peas in a pod – you cannot have one with out the other. There needs to be a mutual understanding of this. Music, Art and Dance cannot turn in to a pool where we drop kids who couldn’t get another elective to fit in their schedule. Our students need to understand that Fine Arts is a place to live, love, learn and grow. Just like any other classroom.
DBE: Thank you Dan!
Does anybody else use technology to teach music or the arts? How? What about smart boards? Anybody using digital music production, or live video communications? Let us know how you use technology in your music classes!
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