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Linde jazzes up the music department

By Denebola
Published: February 2008

By Sidrah Baloch

Sophomore Sidrah Baloch spoke to South music teacher, Lisa Linde, about the future of South’s music program, the students who partake in it, and her experiences as an extensive teacher of music, both past and present.

SB: How long have you been working at South?
LL: Ten years

SB: How many different classes have you taught/currently teach?
LL: I teach eight different classes when I am full time (currently on a part time child care leave). They are symphonic band, jazz ensemble, lab jazz ensemble, chamber ensemble, jazz improv I, jazz improv II, jazz combo, music tech, and in the past I have also taught AP music theory, music theory and intro to jazz/rock/pop music.

SB: How has the music department changed since you started working at South? (In terms of curriculum, number of students, etc.)
LL: The department has grown by leaps and bounds. The curriculum is much more comprehensive and now includes composition, improvisation, more concerts, we now attend competitive festivals and many community service type performances. Our numbers have increased by about 25 percent in ten years.  My jazz groups have gone from seven students to currently around 50 or 60.

SB: How have the different bands changed and improved in the past few years?
LL: As I said, they have all grown in size and they have improved in the level of difficulty of the music they play. Jazz ensembles were at about a two on a scale of one to six. We now play music from levels four, five, and six. That has been the most dramatic change though symphonic band has gone from mostly four to mostly five and all groups have doubled the number of performances, which means they have doubled the amount of music they learn each year.

SB: How do you predict the music department will change in the next couple of years?
LL: Chamber ensembles will grow and increase in popularity. The chamber ensemble course is for musicians who want more opportunities to play and who are not interested in jazz. We have also added a new course for pianists called “Sonata Duo Pianists have never had a place in our music department. Now they can be paired with wind and string players to perform in duos and possibly some larger groups as well.

SB: What are some of the biggest achievements of the music department and bands in the past two or three years?
LL: Jazz ensemble receiving a gold medal and advancing to the state finals was a huge accomplishment. And there were record numbers of gold medals at the MICCA Solo and Ensemble Festival last year. But to me the biggest achievement is on a daily basis. I walk in to classes filled with humble musicians who want to learn more. As a musician on a stage it is easy to let your ego get in the way. But these students are willing to take risks and possibly even sound bad at first’€because they want to get better. They value music, and each other.
I love the sense of community I feel in each of my ensembles. It is why I became a teacher’€to bring that feeling to students’€and it is my proudest accomplishment at Newton South.

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