“It’s About the Process!”
I started teaching fresh out of college and I haven’t stopped since. Throughout my other careers of performing and choir conducting with adults, teaching school has always been in the background as a constant: working with kids, turning them on to music, influencing them to aspire to excellence whether they become professionals or not, showing them how to enjoy the process as well as the final product.
I began teaching at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel, the school from which I myself had graduated just a few years earlier. My ten years teaching general music to K-12, preparing Chanukah-Christmas shows, conducting the choirs and directing musicals each year, all in the wonderful atmosphere we had back then in Kfar Shmariyahu, molded the very personal style of teaching I use to this day.
Short stints at Shuly Briskin’s School for the Performing Arts, “Kla’im” in Ra’anana and three years at Na’amat’s “Technological High School” in Hod HaSharon had me working with a wide variety of students from very different backgrounds.
And finally, for the past ten years, I’ve been the music coordinator and choir director at Ostrovsky High School, Ra’anana. Working in an Israeli school is a challenge, and trying to keep what is essentially a “voluntary” activity going strong all year – keeping the kids coming to rehearsals, despite school calendar conflicts, exam pressures and all the rest – seems almost a miracle to me. Somehow, we do it. The Ostrovsky choir is the backbone of all the school’s memorial assemblies. But far beyond this very important function, I see the choir as a place where kids of all grades, abilities, and levels of talent can come together to work hard, to learn new musical skills, to develop what talent they may have, to learn what it means to be part of a group and be a responsible member, to get a taste of what “being a professional” means – all in a warm, supportive atmosphere where they feel safe.