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Interview with Charles Palella, November 16, 2012

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:08 - Early days as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: When and why did you become a music teacher?

Segment Synopsis: Palella talks about knowing at an early age that he wanted to be a teacher. He talks about feeling terrified and overwhelmed during his hectic first week. He talks about the multitude of teachers’ extra duties he did not anticipate when he was a student. He talks about receiving advice from his college professor on the importance of listening to his students and colleagues.

Keywords: Catholic schools; Hazel Jenkins Primary School; Hilton, New York; Jonathan Underwood Elementary School; Nazareth College of Rochester; Pittsford, New York; Rochester, New York; Rosalind Knowles; Village Elementary School; adolescent psychology; bus duty; child psychology; educational psychology; music education; public high schools; report cards; salary; student teaching

00:08:29 - Highs and lows of teaching

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Partial Transcript: What comments can you provide regarding the quality of your teacher training?

Segment Synopsis: Palella talks about not appreciating his teacher training until meeting student teachers who had different college experiences than his. He describes the ways that teaching elementary school music continues to feel fresh and rewarding. He talks about New York’s misguided approach to education, especially with music.

Keywords: Arnold Schoenberg; Jean Sibelius; Nazareth College of Rochester; Orff Schulwerk; Pittsford, New York; RPO; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; Rochester, New York; Rosalind Knowles; The Swan of Tuonela; chamber orchestra; chamber symphony; creativity; intermediate concerts; music education; orchestra directors; pedagogy; politics; pre-service teacher education; pre-service teachers; student teaching; teacher evaluation

00:16:15 - Rewards of teaching music

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about a time when you felt proud to be a teacher.

Segment Synopsis: Palella talks about feeling proud to have won his school district’s Teacher of the Year award, as well as when former students credit him with inspiring their pursuit of a musical career. He talks about the hope he feels teaching young children and how it helps balance out the stress from union negotiations. He tells a couple of stories about funny moments in the classroom.

Keywords: Rochester, New York; Teacher of the Year; chorus; conducting; contract negotiations; elementary school; health care; music education; opera; politicians; politics; raises; rehearsals; salaries; teachers’ unions

00:24:56 - Considering other careers / teaching style

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Partial Transcript: Have you ever thought about changing your career?

Segment Synopsis: Palella talks about the various careers he has considered, including the study of music education around the world. He describes his fun and active teaching style. He talks about the many ways his former colleague helped him grow as a teacher. He describes how working with Orff instruments motivates his students.

Keywords: Orff Schulwerk; Pat Desmond; barred instruments; chordal; committees; comparative music education; comparative pedagogy; drone; elementary school; ethnomusicologists; ethnomusicology; hand drums; librarians; mentorship; modes; music education; musicologists; musicology; nursing; research; scales

00:31:56 - Professional development / learning from students

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Partial Transcript: And what has helped you develop as a music teacher?

Segment Synopsis: Palella talks about his enthusiasm for the professional development he receives through the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. He describes mentoring a student teacher and helping her to focus on the students rather than herself. He talks about the humbling experience of teaching a group of autistic students.

Keywords: 6:1:1; AOSA Professional Development Conference; American Orff-Schulwerk Association; Orff Schulwerk; Orff level training; Orff levels; PDD classes; Rochester, New York; autism; autistic; clinicians; clinics; conferences; lesson plans; mentorship; music education; pervasive development disorder; student teaching; summer school; workshops; xylophone