Building Community by Teaching to a Higher Purpose
- Much has been written about Music Advocacy with the purpose of promoting and defending Music Education. And many music educators are prepared to quote famous articles and show off awards as signs of their success. But, “actions speak louder than words”. We will examine creative ways of immersing the program into the community, and we will also discuss a very common practice of band directors that works directly against their programs. Take the emphasis away from awards. The real trophies of your music program are your students, parents, and community.
- Ron Wakefield (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 12/16/2016 08:30 AM - 09:30 AM
- Besides having taught music at the middle school level for the last 27 years, Ron Wakefield commutes to Mexico every weekend where he teaches two music programs - one of which is in an orphanage, and the other in a slum-housing project.
Mr. Wakefield’s nationally renowned North Park Academy of the Arts Band has toured Canada, China, England, Florida, Hawaii, and New York, always performing interactive concerts to the marginalized. They have performed in Carnegie Hall four times and they are the only middle school band to ever march in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Before Mr. Wakefield chose to replace all forms of conventional band competitions with social outreach performances, North Park had completed a 15 year winning streak, going perfectly undefeated in Southern California, while never receiving less than a Superior Rating from any individual music adjudicator.
In 2007 Mr. Wakefield and the North Park Band included 6 homeless children in a concert in Carnegie Hall and in 2010 he returned to Carnegie Hall along with his North Park Band, homeless and abused children, and children from Baltimore, Brooklyn, Harlem, Philadelphia, and the Republic of Haiti. His 2013 International Concert for Peace included children from 5 states, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, and local Southern California shelters for and abused children. In April, 2017 Mr. Wakefield and his North Park Band will once again perform in Carnegie Hall. This time they will be joined by children from his Mexican slum and orphanage programs.
Before he became a music educator, Mr. Wakefield was a well known clarinet player in the Los Angeles area. He recorded for many television shows including “Hart to Hart”, “Knot’s Landing” and “Beauty and the Beast” and he starred in the West Coast Broadway Production of “The Lady and the Clarinet”. More than 100 new works, including 3 concertos, were composed for Mr. Wakefield. The Los Angeles Times called Mr. Wakefield “a splendid soloist” and the Bern Post, Switzerland described him as “subtle and expressive”.
Mr. Wakefield has been a guest speaker at conferences and universities across the United States and England. As a diversion he has enjoyed high altitude mountaineering. His best summits include Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, Mt. Rainier, and Mexico’s El Pico de Orizaba.