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February Music Teacher of the Month

Garrett MendezGarrett Mendez is the Artistic Director at Project Music, one of our long-time grantees. Mr. Mendez plays the trombone and tuba, but he teaches all band instruments from woodwinds to brass to percussion. Thank you for being a great teacher!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been teaching?

I have been teaching for over 20 years. 17 years as the Director of Instrumental Music at King School. 9 years as the Artistic Director, Conductor, and Low Brass Instructor at Project Music. I also co-founded Project Music. For the past 2 years, I have served as the Director of Performing Arts at King School.

What types of music or instruments are your favorites to teach?

I don’t have a favorite genre of music to teach. What I like to do is expose the students to a wide range of musical styles from around the world and help them make the connections between all styles. There are similarities in almost every genre and it is so much fun to see how different cultures use the same musical devices in different ways.

What is your favorite type of music to play?

I truly love to play all styles of music. I play in orchestras, musicals, jazz ensembles, and in chamber music groups. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be New Orleans Style Brass Band. For me, it's the ultimate combination of many genres of music coming together to constantly create a vibrant energy that is felt by all who listen to it.

What do you like to do for fun?

Hanging out with my family, cooking, playing games, and watching movies. It doesn’t matter as long as I am with my family.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love arranging and composing music as well as playing volleyball and pickleball.

What advice would you give music teachers just starting out?

Be committed to the process and make sure your focus is on the students’ growth. It will be messy, and you will make mistakes, but if you are focused on helping students learn and enjoy making music, you will be able to handle the tough days and it will motivate you to keep working on your craft.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to all music students if you could?

Don’t be afraid to try. Go all in, because what’s the worst that could happen? If they do that, they will be able to let their personality shine.

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