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Mentoring music at Rocky Heights Middle School

Paul Romaine rocked the rhythm with the middle school musicians.

Article by Kathy Dunker with photos by Joe Anderies

On Thursday, November 11, the Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) jazz ensemble was treated to a first class mentoring experience at a two hour evening practice. Organized by music teacher, Joe Anderies, international artists joined the students and worked with them in both sectionals and side by side in full group rehearsal as well.

Drummer Paul Romaine, worked with the rhythm section, trombonist Jon Braddy, took on the trombones, saxophonist Jim Stranahan, stepped in with the saxes and woodwinds, and Hugh Ragin was on board with the trumpets. After some heavy detail work in sectionals, the musicians returned to the room where the mentors sat in with the students on their pieces and took the lead trading call and response solos in every section.

Anderies said, “The students were all smiles as they left the room and took a huge leap in their skills, confidence and improvisational abilities.” Anderies hopes to have some of the mentors join them for their December concert.

As Anderies remarked, “This kind of mentorship in action model is one of the greatest real world experiences that students can get. The model represents the correct understanding of mentorship: the mentor’s desire is for the student to exceed their normal potential and the mentor’s ultimate goal is to eventually have the student go beyond them.”

Jon Braddy taking the young trombonists to a new level.

Jim Stranahan helped fill the RHMS air with music.

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