The music education program empowers students to have a positive influence on future musicians
Music education is a profession that many seem to overlook. However, Olla native Daniel Wesson knew early on that his path would involve sharing the love of music with students.
“I grew up in a family of musicians. My grandfather was a band manager, and during high school that seemed like the way to go,” Wesson said. “I also appreciated the way the director of my high school orchestra, Mr. Herb Bassett, treated his students. I realized that I wanted to be that kind of influence for someone else, not only teaching them the love of music, but also being a mentor and guiding them.
Throughout his life, Wesson was constantly supported by his family but especially by his grandfather, James Lee Carroll.
“He always included me in every musical thing he did. I was 6 years old and it was a Christmas parade in Olla,” Wesson said. “I asked him if I could walk with the band , and I can’t believe he said yes, but he took one of those little toy drums and his belt and made me a little scarf. He put me there next to the drummers, and I can honestly say that’s probably what started me on the path I’m on now.
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things for music education majors. Many schools weren’t allowed to have a band at all, and so many rules had to be changed for music majors and those involved in music.
“Indoor rehearsals have pretty much become non-existent,” Wesson said. “Making a band virtually is next to impossible, so the music world definitely took a hit when the lockdown happened. It put a damper on not being able to rehearse like we wanted to and then space out the phase effects, like being able to be on time with someone who is in the set.
However, Wesson said the music world has learned to adapt to the changes of the pandemic and made a lot of good innovations with special masks and cowbells for musicians.
“The hardest thing is not being able to play with people. I have a lot of methods lessons where I have to learn all the instruments, but with COVID these had to be very spread out and individualized rather than in group,” Wesson said.
Wesson has no regrets about deciding to major in music. For him, the best thing about being a music education student is the friends he made at Louisiana Tech.
“As a freshman I was very antisocial, but going into sophomore year I forced myself to make connections and friendships not only with other music majors, but also with other music majors. other musicians. To have these people in my life who are not just my friends but also my colleagues has been really special,” Wesson said.
After graduating, Wesson plans to teach high school harmony and mentor the next generation of musicians.
“I like rookie groups and more power for people who can do it, but that’s not for me,” Wesson said. “I want to be in a high school band, preferably a school size 3A or 4A. Once there, I just want to get the ball rolling. Not necessarily going in and changing the way things are done, but at least being able to build on what’s already there and hopefully improve the group they have.
Wesson hopes to put his own personality on as a band manager the same way his grandfather and band manager did in high school — and positively impact the next generation of musicians.
This story was written by communications major Leslee Bennett.