Name: Andrew Scherer
School district: USD 405 Lyons
City/State: Lyons, KS
Class/content area taught: 6-12 band
What you are most excited about with your new career: I’m excited that I get to teach my entire 6-12 band program in my own style, and that every year I teach a new class of 6th graders, the program becomes more of what I want it to be.
What you enjoy most about teaching: I enjoy hearing and watching students successfully apply what I’ve taught them. I love moments like seeing them adjust their intonation without me saying anything in class. I enjoy individuals’ reactions when they play something well that they’ve been struggling with for a while. Teaching middle school is difficult, but I enjoy helping them develop into proficient musicians and being able to have fun and make good music by the time they’re in high school school. I enjoy watching them adopt my work ethic, energy, and passion for band.
Ways your school/district has supported you: My administration is very supportive in every way I can think of. They support all my decisions, they allow me to experiment when things aren’t working, and they trust me as a professional educator. We changed the scheduling for all three of my middle school bands after my first year. Whenever there is a conflict with a parent, they always have my back.
Ways KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career: Being in the KSUMB, particularly as a Section Leader, helped me develop my motivational and leadership skills, as well as my outside rehearsal voice. My Aural Skills classes were crucial for developing my ear and my ability to confidently sight-sing lines of music in front of students. Being in so many ensembles (KSUMB, Cat Band, Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Brass Quintet) with quality directors, gave me a rich amount of experiences to draw from. Playing secondary instruments in University Band helped prepare me to model all the instruments in front of my students, which I do a lot every day. Lastly, conducting in University Band and being coached by a grad student improved my conducting and rehearsing skills massively.
Specifics about your background that make teaching the perfect fit for you: Not really. My siblings are both involved in either music or teaching, so I suppose we were raised in an environment to encourage those.
- You don’t know enough, and you’ll never know everything, but try to learn every day. Never stop learning.
- Learn to play all the basic instruments at least at an 8thgrade level!! Also, learn alternate fingerings and the nuances of intonation for each instrument.
- Always be the most energetic person in the room. If your tired or cranky, fake an energetic mood, and it will soon turn into real energy (fake it ‘til you make it).
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be weird in front of your students. Middle and high school students love that.
- There’s probably a 99% chance the first year will suck. Learn from your countless mistakes and move on.
- Have a solid behavior management system and apply it consistently.
- Seek advice when you need it!
- Ask questions and document the answers!