A Word to Educators
I am a product of public education.
From kindergarten through graduation, I attended schools in the Dover Area School District (in Dover, PA), and as time goes by, the more I realize that my experience in public school was exceptional and rather unusual. Simply stated, Dover had an amazing music program and an administration that supported it. As a member of the band program (I played in concert, marching, and jazz band), I traveled to New Orleans and Orlando, played in numerous festivals and competitions, ran rehearsals and sectionals, and wrote a piece that was played at my graduation; as a member of the choral program, I sang at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral, recorded a CD in New York, and wrote a piece that was performed my senior year. It’s safe to say that I would not be the musician that I am today if it was not for the music education that I was fortunate enough to receive. Yes, I was ambitious and hard-working, but I also had two phenomenally encouraging music teachers — George Bradshaw and Jeffrey Snyder — who had built great programs and were determined to give their students the best education possible, and we also had administrators who were largely supportive of the arts. As I said, my experience was exceptional, and I’m also coming to understand that, sadly, it represents something of an outlier.
I recognize that not all educators are as fortunate, and not all administrators are as supportive. Arts programs in general, and music programs in particular, are under incredible scrutiny, more now than ever before. Music education has largely become expendable, an elective, and everybody — students, teachers, schools, communities, and families — is at a loss because of it. This scrutiny can take many forms, and I know that every music program has its own particularities and eccentricities, but more often than not, it takes the shape of crippling budget cuts. And, of course, I’m not just talking about public schools.
My point is this: If you want your students to perform my music, I want you to be able to do so; if you want to commission a new work from me, I want to make it a reality. The fact that my music is free to download should help this, and while donations are welcome, they’re not expected. (Incidentally, if you want to download any of my scores for the purpose of study or analysis, please help yourself.) Similarly, if you want to commission a new work and are afraid that there’s not enough in your budget, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a two-way street, of course. It’s not sustainable for me to write an infinite number of new works pro bono, but I am committed to do what I can to help today’s students have as exceptional a music education as I did, which means that I am willing to invest in you and your students in the way that I can — with my music.
If you have any questions, please, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. (You’re also welcome to use the contact form.) I look forward to hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you and your students. After all, we are in this together.
It can’t be said often enough: Thanks for all you do.