Stephen Cox has the honor of being the FIRST band director and educator to appear on the show! His perspective on music education brings some different insights to the big picture so to speak. This created a very productive conversation about the pros and cons of our traditional models of music delivery in schools.
“There should never be a false dichotomy that pits Western European Classical music traditions and literature against literally every other form of music making.And yet, many organizations, schools, colleges, and musical institutions see other forms of music making as a threat while defending the “supremacy” of Western European Classical music.When jazz programs entered schools some people fought back arguing that it would ruin music education. The same with Mariachi programs, and now the same with popular music programs. When will we learn?”
In this episode we discuss the nuances of the large ensemble model common in the United States as the “default” for music education. Can it be simultaneously true that this model is crucial and valuable, but also we don’t give enough institutional space for other systems and curricula? We also discuss the problems with conflating “classical” and “western” with choirs, bands and orchestras. In other words, is it still true that a choir can only sing music from narrow genres? Of course not! Tune in to the end!
Stephen T. Cox is the director of bands at the Advanced Learning Academy, Fox Tech, and Cast Tech Schools in San Antonio, TX as of fall 2022. For the previous decade he served as the director of bands at Eastland High School in Eastland, TX A graduate of Howard Payne University, Mr. Cox has been featured in the School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s 50 Directors who make a difference and is the winner of the 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award.
As a speaker he has given clinics on the topics of educational technology, community engagement, small school education and preparing students for majoring in music at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, Texas Bandmasters Association Convention, the Technology Institute for Music Education, Minnesota Bandmasters Association, and the Midwest Clinic. In his time at Eastland, the high school band has been a consistent UIL sweepstakes band, advanced to state marching contest, won multiple State OPS concert band titles, and performed as a demo group for the Midwest clinic and Texas Bandmasters Association conventions.
Core to his teaching philosophy, Mr. Cox believes that fine arts programs should be integral to their communities, that students should have as much control as possible, and that our ultimate goal is to give students the skills they need to chart their own path in life.
Mr. Cox is married to Stephanie Cox, visual art teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, TX. They have three amazing children, Aubree, Chuck, and Caesar as well as the worlds most stubborn dog, Nellie.
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