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Music Alumnus Hits Excessive Notice as a California Instructor of the Yr

Highschool music instructor Ben Case joined the ranks of the educating career 17 years in the past to not educate music, however to show college students.

“This philosophy is how I strategy every facet of my educating,” stated Case, a Cal State Fullerton alumnus.

For his impression on college students, and for going above and past throughout a difficult time in training, Case was chosen as a 2023 California Instructor of the Yr. He’s one among 5 educators statewide acknowledged with the award for his or her extraordinary educating careers.

“I’m really honored,” Case stated. “I maintain my colleagues in such excessive regard and I’m impressed by them every day. The relationships I’ve solid with my college students and colleagues alike are by far the best rewards.”

Teacher of the year Ben Case accepting award
California Instructor of the Yr Ben Case together with his kids Elliott, 7, and Addie, 13.

Case ’05, ’10 (BM instrumental-music efficiency, MM music-performance) is an instrumental music and music principle instructor at Northwood Excessive Faculty in Irvine Unified Faculty District. He’s an instrumental music director for Northwood’s music program, which has obtained seven Grammy Signature Faculty Awards and serves 500 college students.

He directs the varsity’s Wind Symphony, Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra and one of many 4 jazz ensembles, and co-directs the marching band and coloration guard of 220 college students. Case additionally teaches the Superior Placement Music Principle class, and for the previous 13 years, he has served as chair of the Arts Division.

Case, who studied music training and accomplished CSUF’s single topic credential program in music in 2007, is a practising musician as properly. He primarily performs the saxophone, but in addition the euphonium, tuba, clarinet, trumpet and percussion. For his fortieth birthday, he realized to play the bagpipes so he might carry out alongside his college students at a live performance.

“Via all of my experiences, I get to work with extremely proficient college students and colleagues in an environment that persistently pushes the bar for what is feasible,” Case stated.

Why did you enter the educating career?

I grew up surrounded by sturdy educators. Earlier than retiring in 2016, my dad, Jim Case, was the director of CSUF’s Profession Heart and helped college students discover their method after commencement. My mother was a kids’s librarian who helped children with studying disabilities. My brother works for the Vermont State Division of Schooling, and beforehand labored for the Nationwide Division of Schooling and as a classroom visible arts instructor. I’ve seen first hand the distinction a instructor could make — and I wish to make that distinction for another person.

What are the challenges and rewards of educating?

Instructing has been difficult on so many ranges given the continually altering steering surrounding COVID-19 precautions. We needed to present an unbelievable stage of flexibility in our instruction—from studying sound engineering software program and educating college students to creating digital ensembles to purchasing Residence Depot buckets to show everybody how one can drum. However even with these each day challenges, it was exhausting to not be impressed by the resilience and perseverance of our college students. Their compassion and willingness to reimagine their experiences served as a continuing reminder of why I obtained into this career.

What are some excessive notes as a music instructor?

I’ve performed a whole lot of concert events and occasions and there’ll all the time make sure items or performances that stand out. However what means probably the most to me are the folks with whom I used to be capable of share these experiences. For instance, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut all the things down, I wearing full regalia and went door-to-door to my college students’ homes and performed “Pomp and Circumstance” on my saxophone. I’ll all the time bear in mind the appears to be like on my college students’ faces as their neighbors got here outdoors to see what was occurring. This previous summer season, I held an alumni live performance for my college students who missed out on acting on our stage due to the pandemic. Roughly 60 band and orchestra college students, some who hadn’t touched their devices since graduating, turned out for a weekend of music-making and reconnecting. This drove dwelling why I educate.

What are a few of your favourite CSUF recollections?

There are such a lot of to whom I owe a lot, however my mentors Mitch Fennell (professor emeritus of music) and James Rötter (lecturer emeritus in music) made an indelible mark on who I’m as an educator, father and human being. Throughout school, I bear in mind performing within the Little Theater earlier than Meng Live performance Corridor was constructed after which being part of the primary live performance carried out in Meng. I additionally cherish coming again and performing, whether or not within the Alumni Band or main my very own college students to play on that very same stage in shared concert events.

How did your CSUF training put together you on your educating profession?

I had an incredible expertise at CSUF, each as an undergraduate and graduate scholar. From the unbelievable academics and mentors to passionate fellow college students, I all the time felt supported and challenged to succeed in my very own potential. As a graduate scholar, I bear in mind feeling like my training was far much less about determining the reply, however as an alternative studying to ask the correct questions. This has was a lifelong want to be taught and develop.

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