Creating A Haven for Music

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                      Rick Moffit
                              Creating
 A Haven
for Music
Reno, Nevada’s McQueen High
School Lancer Band boasts
both a 12-time state champion
marching band and an indoor
concert program that has 27
consecutive years of first di-
vision superior ratings. The
school had already achieved a
great deal of musical success
before current director Rick
Moffit arrived in 2001, but the
veteran educator has managed
to effectively maintain that level of performance and student
success while also placing his own stamp on the personality
of the band room.




                                 By Eliahu Sussman

                               School Band and Orchestra, May 2010 27
                Rick Moffit took a circuitous path to Mc-         band director. Like many new teachers, I made
             Queen High School. Even though Moffit’s fa-          mistakes and thought I knew more than I ac-
             ther, Bill, was a pioneer in the industry who di-   tually did. He guided me, asked questions of
             rected bands at several prominent universities,     me, and helped me through those first impor-
             Rick first studied physics in college and gradu-     tant years. He was a great mentor to me. Here
             ated with a degree in geology – which he jokes      in Nevada, we do not have assistant directors
             only helps him with “rock” concerts – before        so many future music educators coming out of
             a love of kids, music, and teaching drove him       college here do not have that opportunity to
             back to school, where he completed a degree         learn from someone more experienced. These
             in music education. After gaining experience at     band directors will have a much more difficult
             several high-profile schools and working with a      first few years than I had.
             number of notable music educators, Moffit has
             settled in at McQueen, where he has been for
             almost a decade. In a recent conversation with
             SBO, Moffit talks about some of the lessons
                                                                 “For our kids, the band
             he’s learned about teaching music, including
             the need to create a safe, welcoming environ-
                                                                   room is their home.”
             ment in which his band students can thrive.
                                                                     In the early 90’s, I was teaching high school
             School Band & Orchestra: You’ve had the
             opportunity to work with some great direc-          band in Texas. My mom, who was living in Ne-
             tors at a number of different schools, and          vada, was diagnosed with cancer. It was impor-
             your father was also very accomplished              tant to be close to her and to help in anyway I
             music educator. How have these people               could. The problem was that the only job open
             influenced your career?                              in the state at the time was a junior high po-
                Rick Moffit: Mentoring is an important            sition in Elko, Nevada. I said to myself, why
             component of a teacher’s success. My teaching       would I want to teach at a junior high? Then
             career started as an assistant for a large high     the high school band director, Mr. Walt Lovell,
             school in Texas, where John Rucker was the          told me that our band was going to the Tour-

28 School Band and Orchestra, Ma
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The school had already achieved a great deal of musical success before current director Rick Moffit arrived in 2001 , but the veteran educator has managed to effectively maintain that level of performance and student success while also placing his own stamp on the personality of the band room. Even though Moffit's father, Bill, was a pioneer in the industry who directed bands at several prominent universities, Rick first studied physics in college and graduated with a degree in geology - which he jokes only helps him with "rock" concerts - before a love of kids, music, and teaching drove him back to school, where he completed a degree in music education. After gaining experience at several high-profile schools and working with a number of notable music educators, Moffit has settled in at McQueen, where he has been for almost a decade.
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