Alan’s Musings

Excellent Music Teachers Teach More than Music

screen shot 2019-01-05 at 4.12.37 pmIn 2014 I was Inspired by Joanne Lipman’s book about the lasting influence of her high school viola teacher even though she ultimately decided to choose journalism over music as a career.  I sponsored Joanne to speak about her book at the annual conference of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras in 2014.   Joanne’s book explores why excellent music teachers develop successful patterns for their students whether the students become professional musicians or not, a cause dear to advocates of music education.  During my introduction of Joanne, I reflected on how my own high school band teacher and college oboe professor prepared me to succeed as an investment corporate executive.   Music instruction can create lasting positive change and we should make music education an ongoing priority for future generations. (Read a review of Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky’s book, published in the Chicago Tribune.)


Santa Rosa Symphony’s Inclusive Music Education Programs, a Transformative Regional Force_nts1339

Our Santa Rosa Symphony music education programs are rich and varied.   Summer music academies, three youth orchestras and a vibrant music in the schools program richly supplement what can be provided by our local schools.  Even more inspiring to me is our growing and expanding Simply Strings program.  Here is how the program is described:

Inspired by El Sistema, Venezuela’s acclaimed, social-action music network, Simply Strings develops musical excellence and promotes social engagement. Through this program, based at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School in Roseland, children, beginning in second grade, receive daily, intensive ensemble instruction two hours a day, five days a week after school.

Through the Simply Strings program, I have noticed students build confidence, learn time management and self-discipline skills. They are encouraged to takes risks and most importantly, they feel a part of a positive, musically focused community.

– Jenny Young, Principal, Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School

Engaging children in Sonoma County communities with this kind of instruction and musical formation leads to new connections for our community and new possibilities for these children and their families.   


A 2018 Video Tribute to My College Oboe Professor, Doris DeLoach, on her Retirement

My college oboe professor, Doris DeLoach, retired from teaching oboe and music theory  at Baylor University in the Spring of 2018.  She was an amazing teacher for 47 years!

A video tribute I submitted to her retirement party was an opportunity to reflect on my gratitude for her ongoing positive influences in my life and share those thoughts with her and other former students.