Sunday, August 17, 2014

Moshe Paranov on the Competence of Teachers

The following is an excerpt from an online publication called “The Rhythm of Successful Teaching,” by Hartt alumnus Larry D. Allen.

Mr. Allen was Principal of Boone Grove Middle School in Boone Grove, Indiana. He also taught and conducted at the college and university level at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), The Hartt School, Central Connecticut State University, Valparaiso University, VanderCook College of Music, Duquesne University, and Villanova University.  Among his degrees, Mr. Allen earned a Masters of Music Degree in oboe performance with Bert Lucarelli at the Hartt.

In this section of his publication, called Competence and Incompetence, Mr. Allen relays some stories about Moshe Paranov and his philosophy of teaching music.

Competence and Incompetence

One of the mysteries about teaching in public schools is that almost all of our gurus and geniuses throughout history that daily receive universal respect and admiration would not legally qualify to be our child's teacher.
Moshe Paranov

Moshe Paranov was a musical guru who provided outstanding leadership at the Hartt School throughout most of the 20th century. He and his team of outstanding teachers developed an idea: to build an outstanding school of music in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area to international acclaim and respect. Moshe’s official title was Dr. Moshe Paranov, President of the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford. All the children knew him as “Uncle” Moshe. He was active into his 90’s as the Artist-in-Residence for the schools in Glastonbury, Simsbury, and Torrington, Connecticut. Imagine being in demand as a teacher at 90 years young.

The reality of Dr. Paranov’s talent began to unfold in his high school years, as he entered the principal’s office one morning requesting that the principal give him permission to attend school daily for the balance of his high school year beginning at 10:30 a.m. so that he would have time to practice the piano at home from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. With little hesitation the principal presented Dr. Paranov with the bad news regarding the request even though there was strong parental support.

With that decision, Dr. Paranov moved on with his life, left school and proceeded to practice four hours per day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and over the years became a legend without his high school diploma. He built one of the most respected music schools in the world, and he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Philadelphia Music Academy.

Over the years Dr. Paranov interviewed hundreds of candidates to teach in his highly respected school. His mantra was, “play first and then we will talk.” If the candidate played well, the hiring took place immediately. If the candidate could not play well, there was no talking just a painful silence that communicated the message.

Each year there was an opening meeting at the Hartt School of Music where all the faculty would return after a hearty summer of touring, recording, and many exciting musical performances. Dr. Paranov would command the open meeting with humor, enthusiasm, and commitment. The opening speech went like this each year:

I want to welcome you all back to another season of excellence. What I want from each of you teachers is to know “what have you done today to help each of your students and what have you done today to make yourself a more competent musician and a more competent teacher.”

Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Questions with Jamie Dubberly

Jamie Dubberly (M. Mus. 1992), studied trombone performance at Hartt from 1990 to 1995.  He is currently living in Modesto, CA. 

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

Wow, it’s been a while! I moved to NYC for a few years after Hartt (1997-2003), and performed with many musical theater tours in the U.S., Europe and Asia while keeping a NYC address.  I also formed a large jazz ensemble there, and was involved with some big bands, Latin bands, and orchestras while not on the tours. One highlight for me personally while living in NYC was scoring the music for a play called “Utopians,” by the group The Flying Machine, which was part of the International Fringe Festival in 1998. It was well received by the press, and was an incredible experience collaborating with those guys to write music that fit into the “world” of that work. The show was extended past the original run for more than a month!  In 2003 I moved to Northern California and began freelancing and teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. I started to become involved with the large Latin music scene there as well as with jazz ensembles, orchestras, and other groups.  I formed my own Latin jazz ensemble in 2009, after becoming increasingly involved with Afro-Cuban music in the Bay Area, and released an album called “Road Warrior,” in 2011 with my band - Orquesta Dharma.

What are you involved with right now?

Right now I am a member of a few groups based in the Bay area. Pacific Mambo Orchestra is a large Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa/mambo group that I have been with since its inception a few years ago, and was fortunate enough to win a Grammy award this year, for their first recording “Pacific Mambo Orchestra!”  I also am a member of Avance, which is a San Francisco based salsa band, Realistic Orchestra, a very modern and progressive big band, and I play principal trombone in an opera orchestra in Modesto (where I currently live) called the Townsend Opera. I also play with various other Bay area jazz, Latin and classical groups, and sometimes perform in the pit orchestra for touring broadway shows in Sacramento.  (I ran into classmate Philip Boykin last summer in “Show Boat!”)   Currently, I am in the midst of releasing the 2nd album with Orquesta Dharma, called “La Clave del Gumbo,” which fuses New Orleans brass band music with Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa. I also am teaching trombone and low brass, various classroom courses, and ensembles at California State University- Stanislaus (Turlock), and University of the Pacific (Stockton). 

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

There are several memorable things for me about being at Hartt. The Hartt Honors Trombone Quartet, which competed nationally at the Fischoff (South Bend) and Coleman (Pasadena) chamber music competitions, was a really great and fun experience thanks to our amazing teacher, Ronald Borror.  Being involved with the Jazz program by playing