Category Archives: students

Another school year

Another school year is beginning.

Contracts commenced yesterday for the 2020-21 academic year.

I’ll save for some other time the comments about how strange this year feels already.

When I was in high school, I thought that teaching was the path I would take.  Music came easily to me, so music education seemed the right road.  Working at Windermere Baptist Assembly the summer before my senior year of high school, though, I felt a strong call to do church music.  (This was one of four or five times in my life when I felt an overwhelming, deep, intrinsic presence of something greater than me.)

So church music was the path, and off I went to Southwest Baptist University.  And then, part-way through my first year of college, I realized that God’s call on my life was broader perhaps than solely church music.  I recall clearly: I was in a course entitled Introduction to Religious Education (the topic in which my father took his graduate degree) and was lit up by Maslow’s hierarchy and learning theories.  So I changed my major to religious studies.

I expected to live my life as a musician and pastoral type in Southern Baptist settings.  But life intervened.  The circuitous path that followed was something I now liken to wilderness years. And in December 1987 I was asked to teach voice lessons to a teenager whose voice had recently dropped.

In quick succession: quit my day job, hang out a shingle as voice and piano teacher, start raising rates to whittle away the chaff, take a part-time gig at the local community college, grab a church gig, gain a Master of Arts in Music, start a doctorate.  That was all in a span of nine years.

Teaching found me.  Music found me again, claiming me from my wilderness.

And here I am today, commencing my 22nd year of full-time university education, and my 33rd year of being in love with teaching.

Memories from the years:

A circle

From a Webster University student this week:

This morning I was looking through my bookshelf, and I opened one of my books that my dad gave me. He buys and sells books, and every once in awhile, he finds a book that he thinks will be useful to me for any reason and gives it to me. Usually, these are field guides or music teaching related.
I opened this book today and found this, and wondered if maybe you had owned this book at some point before me?
And indeed, the student had a copy of a book I took to Goodwill well over a year ago as I was purging my shelves at home and at the office!
Sometimes the universe sends signals.  I haven’t decoded this one yet, but I’m certain the signal is a good one.

Three weekends

Three weekends in a row . . . and one of my private voice students in a show.

I dashed after a Les Miz at Chaminade last week (already a long show!), so I didn’t get my photo with a wonderful Julia Hartweger, who played Eponine.

But here’s Alex Bollini after a tour-de-force performance as Billy Flynn in Chicago at SLU High:

And Ronan Ryan after his stop-the-show performance as Robert in Drowsy Chaperone at Parkway West:

I have tall students.

And my pride in them makes me taller too.

Muny auditions

Musings of a private voice teacher . . . .

I had five of my 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade voice students audition this weekend for Muny Kids.  Now we wait.

Next week: eight of my high school voice students will audition for Muny Teens.

These kids have worked hard, made noteworthy strides, gained confidence, demonstrated grit and pluck and desire.  I’m proud of them!

From last year, with some of my Muny talent:

The week . . . and a big change

Friday —

Well, it’s been a week.

(Read that with a sigh and a whimper.)

My body called off after Circus Harmony closed.  I crashed hard on Monday, with mold allergy issues really getting the best of me.  Perseverance was the motto, but Monday night was a rugged and toss/turn sleep.

I stayed home and slept a good chunk of Tuesday, finally going to the office to teach a few lessons before returning home to go to bed early.

This was supposed to be the first normal week of the semester, and it has been in that I’ve seen all my Webster University voice students, most of my private students, taken all the meetings, powered through the to-do lists, and such.  But the allergies (wet weather, not dipping below freezing = mold) have held sway.

And the impeachment tribunal is just making me grumpy.  I know who in my estimation the traitors are.  And I just don’t understand a good 40% of this country.

Muny auditions are coming up, and for the Webster kids have already taken place.  That’s been the focus of lessons this week.

I booked this week a music-directing gig for next year.

Friday and Saturday are audition days at Webster.  We’ll see a dozen prospective new students before this weekend is over.  Audition days are always exciting, bringing promise of new faces and voices and a superior freshman class.

I wrote two songs this week!

Projects and events this past week:

  • continuing preparation for the NASM visit
  • academic program review
  • prepping and giving a NASM briefing to Webster students
  • the annual Arts & Education gala at the Chase
  • finishing a capital funding request
  • booking tickets for shows whilst in NYC in March (Company, Diana, Moulin Rouge)

The beard is now gone.  My face appreciates being clean-shaven. Mariele the Volvo is a delight!  And I paid bills this week, with a few shekels left over. Apparently some big football game is taking place Sunday evening?

And Great Britain Brexits today.  Good lord.


This announcement was posted Friday to faculty and staff in the Department of Music:

So, big changes are in the offing…..

2019 in pictures

And now abide (according to these photos):  family, faith, friends, travel, MUSIC, Circus Harmony, Variety, cooking, Auggie, the garden, and Webster University.  That pretty much sums it up.

New Jewish Theatre

Saturday evening was taken with the delightful task of attending Brighton Beach Memoirs at New Jewish Theatre.

My voice student Jacob Flekier played the leading role of Eugene, and brilliantly.

This production runs one more weekend (and today as well). Neil Simon fans, and those who love to laugh!, should check out this witty, moving production.

Newjewishtheatre.org