How did your education prepare you for what you are doing today?
Case Western Reserve University uniquely prepared me for my career as a music educator by having the joint program with The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). From the CWRU side I was privileged to study with outstanding faculty such as Dr. Ciepluch, Dr. Horvath, Dr. Dunn, and Dr. Bauer who all were fantastic mentors as educators. My instrumental performance opportunities were far greater than most of my colleagues I teach with now. With CIM I was able to receive an outstanding education from performance and theory faculty. More than anything though I had my passion for teaching music and musicianship pushed to a level that has served me well. (Steven is the Director of Bands at Odem High School)
What is your greatest professional accomplishment or recent professional accomplishment of note?
In June of 2016, I was fortunate to conduct the Odem HS Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in a well received performance. This past fall the Odem HS ‘Spirit of OHS’ Marching Band advanced to the Texas UIL State Marching Band Contest and ultimately placed 17th out of the nearly 200 schools in our classification.
What programs do you support at CWRU and why?
Music education and performing ensembles were a fantastic set of programs at Case. Even prior to my switch to Music Education as a major my time in the CWRU Symphonic Winds was a fantastic way to take time away from the stress of coursework.
Do you have advice for current students?
Do as many activities as you can at Case. My time with my Fraternity (Theta Chi), the fencing team, multiple performing ensembles, Footlighters Musical Theater Group, among others was invaluable in learning time management and leadership skills. Course work is only the beginning of an education, it’s the other places that you seek to improve yourself that you really grow as a student!
What is your favorite memory and/or spot on campus?
There are so many favorite memories at Case, but one that sticks out the most was the first day of Chemistry with ‘Doc Oc’ (Dr. Ocasio) calling a student who had fallen asleep in his class by name to ask a question. It was then that we discovered that his amazing instruction included knowing every freshman’s name and face prior to us arriving on Campus. To this day I have a great deal of professional respect for him and all he did for the students at Case!