Music Alumnus Hits High Note as California Teacher of the Year

By | November 15, 2022

Ben Case, a highschool music instructor, joined the ranks of the educating career 17 years in the past to not train music, however to show college students.

“This philosophy is how I method each side of my educating,” stated Case, a Cal State Fullerton alumnus.

For his impression on college students and for exceeding expectations throughout a troublesome time in schooling, Case was chosen as California’s 2023 Instructor of the 12 months. He’s considered one of 5 statewide educators acknowledged with the award for his or her extraordinary educating careers.

“I am really honored,” Case stated. “I maintain my colleagues in such excessive esteem and I’m impressed by them every day. The relationships I’ve solid with my college students and colleagues are by far the best rewards.

Teacher of the Year Ben Case accepts the award
California Instructor of the 12 months Ben Case together with his kids Elliott, 7, and Addie, 13.

Case ’05, ’10 (BM Instrumental Music Efficiency, MM Music Efficiency) is a instructor of instrumental music and music principle at Northwood Excessive Faculty within the Irvine Unified Faculty District. He’s director of instrumental music for Northwood’s music program, which has obtained seven Grammy Signature Faculty Awards and serves 500 college students.

He conducts the Symphony Wind Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Faculty Symphony Orchestra and considered one of 4 jazz ensembles, and co-directs the marching band and shade occasion of 220 college students. Case additionally teaches the Superior Music Idea class, and for the previous 13 years has served as Head of the Arts Division.

Case, who studied music schooling and accomplished CSUF’s music diploma program in 2007, can be a training musician. He primarily performs saxophone, but additionally euphonium, tuba, clarinet, trumpet and percussion. For his fortieth birthday, he realized to play the bagpipes in order that he might carry out alongside his college students at a live performance.

“By all of my experiences, I work with extremely gifted college students and colleagues in an environment that always pushes the bar of what is doable,” Case stated.

Why did you enter the educating career?

I grew up surrounded by robust educators. Earlier than retiring in 2016, my father, Jim Case, was director of CSUF’s Profession Heart and helped college students discover their method after commencement. My mom was a kids’s librarian who helped kids with studying disabilities. My brother works for the Vermont State Division of Schooling and beforehand labored for the Nationwide Division of Schooling and as a classroom visible arts instructor. I’ve seen firsthand the distinction one instructor could make – and I wish to make that distinction for another person.

What are the challenges and rewards of educating?

Instructing has been difficult on many ranges given the ever-changing pointers round COVID-19 precautions. We have needed to have an unbelievable degree of flexibility in our educating – from studying sound engineering software program and educating college students to create digital units to purchasing House Depot buckets for train everybody to play the drums. However even with these each day challenges, it was exhausting to not be impressed by the resilience and perseverance of our college students. Their compassion and willingness to reinvent their experiences always jogged my memory why I selected this career.

What are the excessive marks as a music instructor?

I’ve performed a variety of gigs and occasions and there’ll all the time make sure items or performances that stand out. However what issues most to me are the individuals with whom I’ve been capable of share these experiences. For instance, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut every thing down, I wearing formal put on and went door to door to my college students’ houses and performed “Pomp and Circumstance” on my saxophone. I’ll all the time keep in mind the appears to be like on my college students’ faces when their neighbors got here out to see what was occurring. Final summer time, I hosted an alumni live performance for my college students who had been unable to carry out on our stage as a result of pandemic. About 60 music and orchestra college students, a few of whom hadn’t touched their devices since graduating, turned out for a weekend of musical creation and reconnection. It made me perceive why I train.

What are a few of your favourite CSUF reminiscences?

There are such a lot of to whom I owe a lot, however my mentors Mitch Fennell (professor emeritus of music) and James Rötter (lecturer emeritus of music) left an indelible mark on who I’m as an educator, a father and a human being. . In faculty, I keep in mind enjoying on the small theater earlier than the development of the Meng live performance corridor, after which collaborating within the first live performance given to Meng. I additionally love coming again and enjoying, whether or not it is within the alumni band or bringing my very own college students to play on that very same stage at shared gigs.

How has your schooling at CSUF ready you to your educating profession?

I had an incredible expertise at CSUF, each as an undergraduate and graduate scholar. From wonderful lecturers and mentors to passionate classmates, I’ve all the time felt supported and challenged to achieve my very own potential. As a graduate scholar, I keep in mind feeling like my schooling was a lot much less about discovering the reply, and extra about studying to ask the best questions. This became a lifelong need to study and develop.