Here are his responses to SBO:
Name: Matt Casarez
School: Rio Rancho High School
City/State: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Total Years Teaching: 14
What is your proudest moment as an educator?
My proudest moment as an educator is always our end of year banquet. It is always a joy to reflect on the year and remember our growth and accomplishments. It is also remarkable to look upon the senior class and see how far they have grown as musicians and as people. The smiles and tears from the students and parents are an affirmation that their journey through the band program has given them something special that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
How do you hope to make a difference in your student’s lives?
I hope to make a difference in my student’s lives in several different ways. Band gives them a place to feel safe and comfortable. Having to kick kids out at the end of the day is always a good sign! Whether it be marching band, color guard, jazz band, or concert band, you must develop some form of discipline. Students who are in the band program can take that discipline and use in any other situation in their lives. Lastly, I hope that every student can walk away with a lifelong love of music regardless of what career path they end up following.
What’s the most important lesson that you try to teach your students?
The most important lesson that I try and teach my students is to be good people. With the way the world is today, this is sometimes the hardest obstacle. Having to work together for a common goal every day in band helps these young students learn to work out their differences, learn to compromise, and learn that a disagreement doesn’t mean that hateful words have to be used.