How long have you worked at Barton Community College?
Where were you employed before working for Barton?
Russell Public Schools.
Why did you choose to work at Barton?
Physically, my knees were getting to the point where marching band was hard to do!
What is your favorite part about your job?
Teaching Intro to Music is my favorite because I get to teach kids from all over the world.
What is the most challenging part?
There is a lot more paperwork involved at the college level than there is at the public school level.
What do you love about music?
The personal satisfaction of the outcome of a performance with various groups and my own personal performances. Each performance is a benchmark and each time you try to get a little better.
What is the most awesome music experience of your life?
Performing for all of the Bob Dole presidential announcements. At the Republican National Convention in San Diego, our high school band played via satellite from the Russell County Courthouse Square when they nominated Dole for president.
How do you think teaching music differs from teaching other subjects?
A lot of what I do consists of being responsible for a larger group and for the outcome of everyone’s success. I think it’s the same as a lot of traditional subjects. There is math in music and it’s kind of its own language that you learn. Your brain combines all of those things together to make organized noise.
What do you say to kids after a private lesson when you can tell they didn’t practice at all?
I can read the body language that tells me they haven’t. So, we just work on it over and over in the lesson and they usually get the hint that because it isn’t much fun, and they tend to practice more next time.
Stage fright plagues a lot of performers. Any bouts with that yourself? Words of encouragement or advice for those with performance anxiety?
I still get stage fright, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. I always tell the kids to ‘keep that little monster in its box.’ That’s where preparation comes in big time. If you’re prepared it is not as big of an issue.
You play various instruments. Which one is your favorite to play?
Piano. I actually majored in tuba, but the piano is sort of my home base instrument. I use it a lot for accompaniments .
What projects are you most excited about in the coming year?
I’m very excited for the auditorium renovation project, but I also really look forward to the trips we take with the students because I get to know them a lot better.
How do you spend time outside of work?
I do projects around the house and play music with various groups on the weekends.
What is something people might not know about you?
I like doing carpentry work, and I like to travel.
My piano teacher was really mean when I took piano lessons as a young lad. Just thought I’d share that. What was her problem?
I had the same deal with my piano teacher. She was very rigid, but she never gave up on me. She was probably my most influential teacher because she wanted me to do well.
What is one way that music is different today than it used to be?
We sort of have this American Idol mentality as a society, where if you’re not fantastic at it you shouldn’t do it, and that’s not what the arts are about. They are about participating and to enjoying them for yourself. You don’t always have to compete.
People are always walking around with earbuds in these days. How awesome is it that music is so portable and available these days? I love it. I take music wherever I can.
I think it’s awesome because they are able to listen to anything they want. So they are one of the most eclectic generations. In my day, we had to walk to a record store!
Did you ever have rock star aspirations?
Yeah, I still do!
It’s never too late.
I play with a group from Salina, and we get to do big shows for thousands of people sometimes. So I get a taste of it, but I’m always brought back to reality on Monday morning.
Have you and Vern Fryberger ever thought about having a Piano standoff…or a “duel” if you will? Who would win?
Not to be mean, but I think I would. If it was a vocal contest Vern would definitely win!
What about an arm wrestling match?
Probably a tie.
A 40-yard dash?
A game of Monopoly?
That’d be interesting. I’ll just leave it at that.
Vern for sure. I can’t dance.
And finally, I noticed you both wear glasses. Whose eyesight is worse?
Probably mine. It kind of depends on what we are doing.
Ok, I’ll arrange to have this all officially verified.