A love for music and teaching
Music, whether played on the keys of a finely tuned piano, brought to life through the leadpipe of a trumpet, the keys on a flute, or smoothed together between bow and string on a violin, reaches deep down into the depths of human psyche.
It becomes a piece of the listener for those who allow themselves to get lost in its melody, creating feelings of happiness and sadness, lightening the mood and softening the heart. It builds bridges between one world and another, whether figuratively or literally.
At least this is how it was and still is for Glenrock music teacher Jeremy Huck who was recently nominated for Wyoming’s District Music Teacher of the Year by fellow Centennial Junior High band and orchestra teacher Sarah Hanson, of Casper.
Huck will accept his award at the Wyoming Music Educators Association State Conference next January. This nomination covers Wyoming music teachers in Casper, Glenrock, Douglas, Wheatland, Glendo, Chugwater, Lusk, Lingle, Torrington, Guernsey and Yoder. It also puts Huck in the running for State Music Educator of the Year, an award also given at the state conference.
“The best part about teaching music is the fact that it is a positive activity that can be shared by people of all ages and ability levels,” Huck said. “You are never too old or too young to appreciate music or to perform music.”
Huck is a proficient player of all band instruments as well as the guitar. And he’sM not stopping there as he is currently learning how to play the ukulele and mandolin. As one who utilizes music as a tool for relaxation and creativity, Huck can attest to just how refreshing music can be, although a challenge to play, at times.
One of his favorite hobbies is trying his hand at composing music. “I find it fulfilling to write a song for (my) students to play or to write a song for myself to sing,” he said, having written several of each. “Accompanying myself on guitar is particularly fun.” Spending his childhood days in Billings, Montana with his 12 siblings, Huck was a dedicated band student all through his school boy years and into college. Although, it wasn’t until his 2nd or 3rd year in college when he finally settled on music education for a major, after having already changed his major several times before.
“I began teaching private trumpet lessons while in college and realized that I was good at teaching,” Huck said. “Up to that point I was pretty good at performing music but didn’t realize that I might also be good at teaching it.”
This led to other opportunities for him to teach private beginner music lessons at a music store and a Christmas pageant for a day care center in Billings. These new open doors are what led him to changing his major and put him on the path to becoming the music teacher he is today.
Huck graduated with his bachelor of science in music education from Montana State University in Billings in 1996, obtained his masters of music in conduction from the American Band College in Ashland, Oregon, in 2005, and became a national board certified teacher in 2010. He taught music for six years in Montana and relocated to Wyoming in 2003. He has been teaching music in Glenrock for the last 14 years.
Although many teachers have a favorite grade level they love to teach, Huck is just loving the music of teaching while being able to be there for the same students year after year, who begin band in fifth grade and stick it out the entire eight years through high school graduation.
“During that time I develop an excellent relationship with most of them. I get to know them on a personal level and get to see and help them grow up,” Huck said. “I think that for several of them I serve as a sort of parental-figure. I enjoy helping to nurture them through their teenage years (and) I love having that kind of relationship with them. It’s always fun when they graduate and then come back sometime later and visit.”
In May, Glenrock students will be hosting a “Monster Band” concert which brings band students, beginners through high school, and community members together to perform during the concert’s grand finale.
The last “Monster Band” concert was held in 2013. Glenrock band students, community members, and Casper band students all joined in on the concert for a total of 100 people performing all together. “The beginners enjoyed it as much as the adults who dusted off their instruments and performed with us for the first time in years,” Huck said.
The love for music in Huck’s life extends to his wife Brenda, a violinist, and their son James. Together, he and Brenda enjoy a wide variety of music ranging from sounds such as classical, jazz and rock, to country and contemporary. Pretty much anything goes just as long as it’s not hip hop or rap, he said. And it doesn’t end there. Their 12-year-old son James plays the trumpet, the piano and percussion, and sings in the school and church choirs, keeping music alive and well in their family.