You worked with Tom right from the beginning: 4th grade! In addition to teaching him the basic skills of alto sax, you also focused on the subtleties of the instrument that helped him feel comfortable to explore the instrument on his own. It was through your patient guidance and constant encouragement that he would discover his ability to improvise. I can still hear you say, “Try again.” You were never judgmental or harsh or negative.
Furthermore, your knowledge of NYSSMA and All County Jazz Festivals helped motivate Tom to hone a piece of music to near perfection. He became part of something that was bigger than himself (no small feat for a teenager!!).
Did you know that music became his niche in high school? It was through Symphonic Band/Wind Ensemble/Jazz Ensemble/Marching Band that he found his circle of friends and won the favor of his classmates because of his ability to improvise and perform. I credit YOU with laying the strong foundation from which he was able to build upon.