November 13, 2019

Helping Teachers Plug into New Tools and Approaches, with Immediate Results

In last month’s newsletter the Coalition introduced you to Franklin Willis, the new elementary music teacher coach in the Metro Nashville Public Schools. Now, we’re happy to have you meet secondary music teacher coach Glenn Fugett.

Glenn is the former Director of Bands and Orchestras at the Nashville School of the Arts (NSA), where he conducted two concert bands, two string orchestras, a full orchestra and a jazz ensemble. This past spring, the NSA Wind Ensemble received the Award of Distinction in Concert Performance from the American School Band Directors Association. And in 2017, Glenn’s Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble were both selected to the Music for All National Festival. Before arriving in Nashville, he had been a teacher in Texas for 29 years.

Glenn is also a sought-after clinician for Music for All, Yamaha, and Vic Firth. He has served as a judge and clinician for Bands of America since 1995 and has been a judge for Drum Corps International since 1992. He is a member of the Middle Tennessee State Band and Orchestra Association and a member of Phi Beta Mu.

What drew you to this work?

Glenn Fugett: When I moved to Nashville and began teaching in the public school system, I quickly realized that most programs only had one director and no assistants or co-teachers.  They had no one to share the enormous workload, no one to bounce ideas off of, and no one to seek out as a mentor. In essence, they each were an island. I was fortunate in my career in Texas to always work in situations where I worked with others daily. I learned SO much from that daily interaction with other teachers.  I was able to progress steadily and as a result, my ensembles progressed steadily. When I became aware of the opportunity to work directly with teachers as a coach and mentor, I knew I had to jump at the chance.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

GF: Without question, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing a teacher’s face light up when they realize there is a system or a method they can plug into and see immediate results.

I observed a young band teacher who has been struggling to build a program and was able to help her structure her lessons so she had a unison warmup routine. I introduced her to, and now she has a system of practicing rhythms and melodies during lessons. I demonstrated how to use a metronome to structure the classes by warmup, scales or scales fragments, rhythm exercises, melody exercises and then musical phrases from their books or concert literature. 

This gave her structure. It gave her a method that she could plug in to. It made my week to see the light bulb go on. She was beaming. She had a system that she could use to get her started on the path to building a successful band program.