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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Trevor Marcho

May 10, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the ninth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 68 posted to date.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.43.09 PMTrevor Marcho has taught instrumental and choral music at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln for six years.  He also co-conducts the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras and teaches private music lessons at Main Street Music Studios in Bangor. He is a graduate of the University of Maine, where he also teaches MUE 217, Brass Methods to undergraduate music education majors.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love working with the kids on something that takes a long time to develop. I appreciate seeing that long, slow improvement on skills that only comes from practice and revision, and I think that mindset helps students foster an appreciation for quality and goal-setting.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY visual and performing arts program?

  1. Love for your art form
  2. Charisma
  3. Drive

How have you found assessment to be helpful in your classroom?

The work I’ve done around assessment in the last few years has really helped me to be more organized, and given me a way to provide meaningful feedback in a concrete way. I do a lot with self-assessment, and the students find it to be a way to take ownership in their playing.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

The biggest benefit for me has been to collaborate with other like-minded teachers and artists from around the state to improve what I do, and offer my expertise to others looking for improvement in their assessment practices.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I think I’m most proud of the work my district has done over the last few years. I teach in a small school, where kids are over-extended with activities and sports. They don’t have the time, or will to add to that by practicing their instruments outside of school. Keeping this in mind, I build practice time into our rehearsals and give them skills-based exercises to complete. The freshman, in particular, make huge strides in a semester, and can now play music that would have been impossible for them a year ago.

What gets in the way of becoming a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

I usually get in my own way! Staying the course can be very difficult in the current school climate. I sometimes have to lock myself away from other teachers and administrators and just focus on teaching music in order to avoid burn-out, and to remember why I’m here.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear to at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have had the great opportunity to work with the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras for the last three years. I didn’t have any prior experience with string musicians or instruments, so just getting the job was a miracle, but I put the time-in and worked hard to learn the repertoire and the different techniques. I’m learning every day, and look for new things to improve at all times.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Don’t approach it as a job. This is what I do with my life. I am a music teacher because I love it. I seek out new techniques and constantly look for things to improve in my program. I strive to be the best that I can be because that’s what our students deserve. Don’t ever just slide by.

If you were given $500,000 dollars to do whatever you please, what would it be?

Upgrade all of my students’ instruments!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You are looking back. Do you have any regrets?

None! I am still learning to balance family life with teaching, but I’ll get there someday!

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