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Interview with Jeffrey Rowser, February 25, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Early days as a music teacher

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

Segment Synopsis: Rowser talks about growing up with both parents working in education as well as choosing music over other careers. He talks about being surprised by the amount of paperwork he had to complete during his first few days as a teacher as well as the many other obligations unrelated to music. He talks about the importance for first-year teachers to set realistic expectations for their students as well as getting to know them. He describes how his college education prepared him well, especially with learning multiple instruments.

Keywords: Auburn University; Auburn, Alabama; B.M.E.; Bachelor of Music Education; M.Ed.; Madison, Georgia; Master of Education; Morgan County High School; administration; brass; chorus; collegiate band; core classes; drum majors; faculty meetings; fundraising; high school band directors; junior high; marching band; methods; middle school; music majors; parent conferences; parents; pedagogy; percussion; quarter system; scheduling; symphonic band; trumpet; woodwinds

00:04:47 - Staying vs. leaving / highs and lows

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Partial Transcript: Why have you stayed in teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Rowser talks about staying with teaching because of his passion for music, despite the financial challenges. He describes the burnout from administrative obligations that causes some teachers to leave. He talks about the pride he feels when his students who go on to pursue music education or other high level careers credit his teaching as a major influence. He talks about the challenges of dealing with budget constraints.

Keywords: administration; band directors; budget constraints; budgets; burnout; choral directors; core teachers; discipline; funding; general music; high school; junior high; middle school; music education; rehearsals; resources; scheduling; scholarships; teacher salary

00:10:27 - Music’s positive impact / teaching style

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about a time when music teaching made you feel hopeful.

Segment Synopsis: Rowser describes the positive outlet that band offers students, especially those with difficult backgrounds. He talks about one group of band students who earned Superior ratings playing a piece from memory after he forgot to bring the sheet music. He talks about the major changes in personality students undergo in their sophomore year. He talks about making sure the students enjoy the process of learning rather than focusing solely on a big performance’s results. He describes the multitude of lessons he learned from former teachers that still apply to his career.

Keywords: Conyers, Georgia; GMEA; Georgia Music Educators Association; LGPE; Large Group Performance Evaluation; Salem High School; Sunday School teachers; Superior ratings; band; band directors; chorus; discipline; freshmen; music education; music theory; orchestra; piano; section rehearsals; small groups; sophomores; “festival”

00:17:42 - Motivating students / mentorship

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Rowser talks about avoiding short-term individual rewards in favor of using group rewards and GMEA success to motivate his students. Rowser talks about keeping up on the latest developments in education by talking with younger teachers. He talks about paying forward to student teachers the care and attention he received from his mentors. He talks about being inspired by a disabled student and a visually impaired student who participated in the marching band.

Keywords: Albany, Georgia; All-State; Athens, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; Auburn University; Auburn, Alabama; Commerce, Georgia; East Jackson Comprehensive High School; Eugene Wyles; GMEA; Georgia College & State University; Georgia Music Educators Association; Georgia State University; Jesse Walker; Milledgeville, Georgia; Solo and Ensemble; Sylvester, Georgia; UGA; University of Georgia; Worth County, Georgia; administration; band directors; disability; disabled persons; discipline; group rewards; high school; marching band; middle school; music education; professional development; student teaching; visually impaired; “festival”