The Annual JC Music Educator of the Year Award
Read the transcript of JC’s 2016 Music Educator of the Year Speech:
First of all, I would like to thank Dawson Flinchbaugh and VIR for this dinner and for the generous nature of the company in all they do for us, as affiliate stores, for teachers, students and schools. They are truly the best organization I have worked with in my 28 years with JC Music, and we’ve been together now for almost 12 years.
I’d also like to thank everyone for coming tonight. I know how busy everyone’s schedules are and truly appreciate you all coming tonight where Veritas, JC Music, The Music Center of North Haven and Bristol Music can show our appreciation for music teachers.
This is my 8th year naming a JC Music Educator of the Year. It started in 2009, when I chose John Miller from John C Daniels school in New Haven. John was an amazing teacher. His students were inspired and he helped get the staff to understand what all the students were going through by getting them to learn instruments along with the same concert music for performance. I was renting instruments to teachers! Few music teachers could ever accomplish that task, but John was able to accomplish just about anything he wanted with music. It was simply a very high level of teaching and through his work with Yale’s Music in the Schools Initiative, JC Music Solo Competitions, the New Haven Public Schools and with CMEA, I knew no one who worked harder to improve music education here in Connecticut.
John inspired the criteria that I use today to select each Music Educator of the Year.
— Has shown themselves to be an excellent musician
— Has gained the respect of their students, parents and colleagues
— Has shown themselves to be a great teacher and is able to communicate in a way that results in quality music education
— Puts together quality musical performances
— Teaches students proper performance etiquette
— Has done something educational & rewarding for the students which is beyond the curriculum.
— Has increasing enrollment numbers, because students want to work with this teacher
— Inspires students to learn music & appreciate the aesthetic value of music
— Contributes to the advancement of music in the community
— Possesses the ability to generate excitement and enthusiasm for music within the school
One of our past winners was able to make it tonight. In 2014, it was Jason DeGroff from the University of New Haven.
This years educator of the year, is a professional saxophonist who spent 7 years traveling across the country performing. He’s also a composer and arranger. He had the luxury of studying composition and arranging starting at age 14 with internationally known composer Eric Osterling. I’m sure most of you have played an Osterling piece while going through school or with your band and we have one of our directors taking an Osterling piece into competition right now.
This teacher plays professionally with the Thomaston Jazz Orchestra, Bristol Jazz Orchestra, Sharp 5 Jazz Quintet, Take 2 Jazz Duo and with Pandemonium (a wedding & corporate band).
This years winner took a job in a school with just 2 instrumental students for him and no program in place. He wrote the curriculum for the music classes and ensembles he teaches for what has become a magnet school of performing arts. He’s been doing this job for just four years and has a foundation set for a music program which I expect will continue it’s growth as long as he teaches there.
He currently teaches four ensemble classes, a piano class, a couple jazz studies classes, music media technology and music composition. In his jazz history class — performances, lessons, interactions or memorable experiences are used to fuel student recordings, which he posts online.
In the words of Paul Kamenistky, JC Music’s Educational Representative for his school, who has seen him teaching and has been asked to sit in and play with an ensemble on djembe or drums during several of his school visits: “He is knowledgeable with all instruments and gives very specific advice to students in rehearsals. He fosters a comfortable environment for ensemble members to voice their concerns and ask questions and he has great rapport with his students.”
The 2016 Winner of the JC Music Educator of the Year Award goes to Jeremy Osterling of Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford.