Meet Andrew Hulle, Intermediate School band teacher!
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
I love seeing the evolution of new musicians. At the beginning of the year students don’t even know how to put the instruments together. Then we tackle how to make sounds, but we still have a long way to go to make them enjoyable, musical sounds.
All of a sudden the end of the year is here and the group is performing music in time together using melodies with an octave range, counter melodies, harmonies, ostinatos, dynamics, and new rhythms subdivided in 2s and 3s. If any of that sounds confusing to you, ask the closest 5th grade band member and they will help you out.
The cognitive development and confidence gained by these young musicians is always remarkable and it is, hands down, my favorite aspect of this job.
Why do you believe in and support the work of the Minisink Valley School District and what it does for the community?
I grew up in Minisink and had many teachers that inspired me to learn. Now that I am on the teacher side of things, I am allowed behind the scenes access to see what some of my favorite teachers are doing that made their classes so memorable.
I believe that teaching is a craft and I get to work with people who are at the top of that craft. We work together and share new perspectives, techniques and wisdom. We inspire each other and we bring that energy to the forefront of our teaching everyday for the advantage of our Minisink students.
How has this pandemic refocused the work you do every day?
We had to completely rethink the approach to the band program. We had to strip it down to the most important concepts and experiences and then find new and creative ways to deliver that to students. We used new software that assesses students’ musical performances to help us when playing together wasn’t an option.
I composed three original band pieces for our group to perform which allowed me to target the core skills that I thought were important for us to master. I also began the creation of a digital library of musical resources for our students. This is a resource that will continue to expand and be available to all of my future ensembles.
It is important to grow from all of your experiences and this global pandemic is no different. I don’t think it was easy for any of us and I know I’ve made mistakes, but I am also confident that our band program will come out stronger.
What do you want to say directly to the community about the importance of your work?
Just recently I was speaking with a parent about what their child gained from our band program, we discussed some of the qualities that parents want their children to have when they graduate from high school. We want our students to leave Minisink Valley Schools with confidence, discipline, time management skills, and independence. The parent then shared with me that these are all qualities that began when their child started participating in the 5th grade band program. If these are core concepts that students need to develop, then why not start them as soon as possible?
We all know the importance of music. Music is everywhere. What can sometimes be overlooked is the life skills that we gain in our musical pursuits.