Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5 Questions with Christopher Selby

Christopher Selby (B.M. Music Education--Instrumental, 1992) studied violin/viola and music education at Hartt from 1988-1992.  He is currently living in Charleston, SC.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

After leaving Hartt, I taught for five years in Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia. Then I moved to Columbia, SC to study Orchestral Conducting at the University of South Carolina. I earned my MM (1999) and a D.M.A. (2000) in Orchestral Conducting. After getting my doctorate, I became the District Orchestra Coordinator for Richland School District Two in Columbia, SC where I worked for eleven years.  While teaching orchestra classes and supervising string instruction across the district, I also lead our state MEA as President of the orchestra teachers from 2007-2009, and then President of the SCMEA Executive Board from 2011-2013. I’ve conducted regional and all-state orchestras, and co-authored the SC state standards for Instrumental Music. In the Spring of 2012, I took the Spring Valley HS Chamber Orchestra to the ASTA National Orchestra Festival and we won 1st Place in the competitive string orchestra division.

What are you involved with right now?

Currently I'm the High School Orchestra Director at the Charleston School of the Arts where I teach and conduct string and full orchestra classes daily. I’m co-authoring a high school string method book that will be published by GIA in 2014. I am finishing my term as the Chair of the ASTA National Committee on School Orchestras and Strings, and I am the Chair-Elect of the NAfME National Council on Orchestral Education.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?

I have many memories of friendships and exposure to great musicians and performances; whether I was hearing regular concerts by the Emerson String Quartet or simply hearing talented friends working hard in the practice rooms, I was inspired by the environment at Hartt. 

What did you learn during your time at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

I have to say I loved Hartt and appreciated almost everything about the way it prepared me as a music teacher. From the Kodaly ear-training and early childhood classes of Dr. Feierabend, to the rich assortment of methods classes, I felt that Hartt prepared me very well. I thought I knew everything when I left Hartt; I was ready to conquer the world. Of course I didn’t know everything, and now that I’m over 40, the words of the late Moshe Paranov are beginning to haunt me. He always said “When I was twenty, I knew everything, and now that I'm 90, I don't know nothin’.”

To answer the question, though, Dr. Richard Rusack always said “you won't appreciate these sayings now, but you will when you start teaching,” and he was absolutely right; to this day, I still use his quirky sayings when I set up new string students’ hand positions.

What is next for you?

I'm still settling in as the new conductor at the Charleston School of the Arts, and I’d like to see how far I can take this program. I also hope to do more speaking at conferences and conducting all-state orchestras.

If you want people to get in touch, how can they do so?

My school email is, and my home email is I stay busy, too busy maybe; I'm always looking for a little more “blue time” (down time) but I'll do my best to reply when I can.

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