National magazine features Mountain View teacher
Walt Temme, Arizona's 2011 Music Educator of the Year, and his Mountain View High program are featured in "A Forward-Moving Orchestra" published by the national School Band and Orchestra magazine.
"I have to admit, I kind of live in paradise." — Walt Temme
At a time when headlines regularly bemoan orchestras nationwide struggling with thinning audiences and mounting budget deficits, Dr. Walt Temme is managing a thriving nest of young string players at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona.
Now featuring over 200 students split into five ensembles, the Mountain View Orchestra program seems immune to the perception of string groups as stuffy or outdated, and that is no accident.
Although Temme credits his community as artistically vibrant and music-loving, he has also aggressively shed the constraints of conservative classical performance, engaging and challenging his students to utilize their musical talents in a wide variety of genres and settings.
In this recent interview with SBO, Dr. Temme, the Arizona Music Educators Association’s 2011 Music Educator of the Year, reflects on the challenges facing string educators, including balancing repertoire and building musicianship in the next generation of orchestral music lovers and performers.
School Band & Orchestra: What have you done to engage so many students in music?
Dr. Walt Temme: I have to admit, I kind of live in paradise. I have really good feeders that are bustling and growing. The teachers that feed students into my program are wonderful teachers and they do a great job in their programs, respectively, of recruiting and building the numbers. We’re also fortunate that the parents around here value their children being in music.
Excerpts from the national School Band and Orchestra story by Eliahu Sussman