Jason Crews LAB

Introduction:
I have had a wide range of meaningful educational experiences, and a wide variety of not so meaningful educational experiences. I have participated in almost every form of education available. I started school in a private Christian school, and was somewhat of a problem child. By most public school standards I would have probably been considered a normal, attention hungry, elementary schooler, but the private schools were unwilling or unable to deal with it. After leaving the Christian school my mother home schooled me for two years. Home schooling has a rather bad reputation amongst the general public, but I wouldn’t exchange that time for anything. I had the opportunity to study a well rounded curriculum while not being held back by the slowest person in the class. I could spend as much time as necessary on weak subjects while spending less time my strong subjects. I transferred to a video school, which was nearly the same as my previous private school, with one small exception, all the teachers were prerecorded and we were monitored and graded by teacher’s assistants. While it lacked the personal attention of a regular class room, the school was small, and as long as I completed my assignments, I received a good education. Partially through seventh grade my family moved to St. Mary’s Georgia and I had my first experience in the public school system. It was initially quite shocking, and in many respects quite unpleasant. I had never changed classes before, I didn’t know what home room was, and I didn’t know what all those ringing bells meant. In spite of the culture shock I was presented with some opportunities that I would previously never had. Though I didn’t know it then, some
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Jason Crews LAB

of those opportunities would send me on a path leading inexorably toward my future career. Simply stated, the trumpet. I joined the band and picked up the trumpet. In retrospect it was one of the more pivotal points in my life. Had I chosen instead to play football or taken some other class, I would have never been able to study with some very talented teachers and musicians. Life from that point forward would not be all music and art. I also excelled in science and math. In eighth grade I was sent to the state science fair, and ninth grade I was sent to the state science symposium. Surprisingly, it was in those fields that I really learned to write. I wrote my first abstract and won awards for technical writing. Half way through my junior year in high school my father retired from the navy and got a job with Intel in Chandler, Arizona. I was still heavily involved in activities like marching band and symphonic bands, but really spent most of my time focusing on science and math. During my senior year of high school I won a full tuition scholarship to attend ASU for my science fair project. Where science and technical writing were concerned I was head and shoulders above my peers in Chandler. It was during my tenure at Hamilton High school that I really developed an interest in chemistry. After graduating from high school in the spring of 2000 I decided to attend ASU and study chemical engineering. As do many students their freshman year of college I was lost. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t really know what it meant to do it. After two semesters as a Chemical Engineering student I switched to computer science and engineering. I enjoyed programming and luckily it came easily to me, but like chemical engineering what few things that didn’t come naturally I didn’t wasn’t willing to spend the time learning, and as a result that major didn’t last very long.
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After becoming a productive member of the work force for a few years, I decided to go back to school; but this time to become a music teacher. I never thought it would be easy, but I didn’t think it would be that hard either. I initially approached this degree like all my others before it. I thought if it was the right subject to study that everything would come to me. It took a rather rude and blunt discussion from a professor in which he expressed serious doubts about my future in the program that woke me up and got me to work. I don’t know what kind of learner that I am, but I quickly realized that I have to work and practice very hard to keep up. When it comes to learning new instruments and things that involve physically developing new skills, I am slow at best. With time, however, it comes.

Persons:
I don’t know that I have had any one person serve as a mentor in my life. I have been taught by individuals who I hope to emulate both on a personal and professional level, and I have been taught by individuals who I hope not to emulate on either a personal or professional level. Influences of both types have been innumerable throughout my life. My musical influences go back as far as my first band class, Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith never seemed to be disconcerted with our little beginning band, and he was never discouraging. He taught our class patiently but he always expected us to do our best. The director of ASU’s

Sun Devil Marching Band (ASUSDMB), Dr. Fleming, was the next significant influence in my musical life. Dr. Fleming always level headed with the band. At the time ASUSDMB was over 300 members, so he had a lot to manage, on top of his other teaching responsibilities. I still remember the first day of band camp as if it were yesterday. He sat everyone down toward the end of the day, and sad “I love this band, and even thought I don’t know all of you yet, I
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love you.” Throughout that year he demonstrated that love time and time again, and fostered a 300 member family feeling. As an artist, Josh Whitehouse, my trumpet teacher, has been and is currently a huge influence. Before taking lessons with Josh I had never really known a trumpet player of his caliber, much less taken a lesson with one. Josh has, and continues to inspire my continued growth as a musician.

Significant Incidents:
One day while sitting at work I realized that I wasn’t happy. I realized that if I continued down my path I would make decent money, but without some kind of degree I would eventually max out my earnings and would have no place to go. I also realized that making a little more money for every hour I worked wouldn’t make me happy in the long run if I hated what I was doing. I don’t know what happened in my life, if anything, in my life to suddenly change my perception and set me down a different path, but I here I was at a crossroads. I began to think of teaching music. The thought had crossed my mind before, but I never pursued it, and why? I was afraid. I was afraid to do something to new. I was afraid to quit my job. I was afraid dedicate my life to something. Once I realized fear was my only obstacle it was easy to overcome. I adjusted my schedule at work and started taking classes.

The next most significant events happened not that long ago. Only one semester ago. One of the professors at MCC, the other school I attended, called me into his office along with my trumpet teacher. He started by having me sight sing and when I couldn’t he asked it I had considered any other options for my career. To make a long story short, in his opinion, I wouldn’t be ready for the Ottawa audition by the end of the semester, and no amount of work I could do would be able to prepare me in time. We discussed my situation, and at one point during our discussion I asked him if I decided to continue studying music would they support me, and not hinder that pursuit with preconceptions of my capabilities. My trumpet teacher
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stated emphatically that no matter what I decided he would support me and continue to teach me to the best of his ability. The other professor couldn’t say the same thing. In fact, he wouldn’t answer the question at all. That was a sad day for me. Mostly because I thought I had lost all of my options. But also because I had always looked up to that other professor and to hear that he had written me off as a future educator, and to hear him avoid answering my question, when I asked him if he would continue to support me, really hurt. I went home and cried. Later, after I had some time to regain my composure, I told my story to a friend and a couple of colleagues to get their advice. They helped me realize that the other professor couldn’t make me stop; he could keep me from trying. Only I could do that. If I quit it would be my choice, if I lost my options it would be because I would have given them up. Through that trauma I had a new hardened resolved, and with that resolved I faced my classes and teachers with new resolve. I dropped all my classes that I felt that teacher could influence and kept on going. At the end of that semester I auditioned at NAU, ASU, and Ottawa University. NAU offered me a partial tuition scholar ship, and Ottawa accepted me into their program. It’s ironic that the professor responsible for my hardship was the one who ultimately decided to accept me into Ottawa’s program. Through this ordeal I learned that people only have as much power as we give them, and that no one can keep me from achieving my goals, except myself.

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Jason Crews LAB

Goals:
I have many goals. Some of those goals are personal, some financial, some professional, and some educational and they range from very short term to very long term. Some of my short term personal goals include not eating out as much, drinking less soda, spending less money, and loose about ten pounds. Some of my ongoing long term personal goals include looking back and evaluating my life and decisions. I realize there is no point in setting goals if you don’t look back to see how you achieved them, or why you didn’t. Personal accountability and analysis is just as important, if not more important, than setting the goals themselves. Arthur Ashe said “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” My professional goals resemble dreams more than goals currently. I dream building a highly successful band program. I would like to have that program include successful marching band, concert band, jazz band, winter guard, winter drum line, small ensembles, and any other music related program I am able to practically maintain. I would like the concert bands, marching bands, and jazz bands to be national Bands of America competition caliber. I would like to have the winter guard and winter drum line to be national Winter Guard International caliber. I would like to have a program large enough to justify an assistant director, drum line instructor, pit instructor, color guard instructor, brass line specialists, wood wind specialists, drill designer, and music arranger. My short terms professional goals are more difficult to set at this point in my life. Once I get a job and start teaching I will set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and even longer term goals.

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There are too many variables while I am in school and before I know what and where I am to teach to effectively set those types of goals. My short term educational goals are much easier to set. My first goal is to pass Proseminar. After that I will be starting my next to last semester at MCC, so my educational goals are to pass each of the classes I have to take during that term. I will only have to take one particularly difficult class in the fall, but I will be taking a few more credit hours than in the past so another goal will be to effectively manage my time. My next goal will be to start preparing for my senior recital which will be sometime toward the end of the spring semester. I am still debating my long term educational goals. I know that there are many benefits for a teacher to continue their education, but I hope to work as soon as possible after graduation so my education will have balanced with my work load. I have considered many different paths. The first, and most obvious path, would be to pursue a master’s degree in conducting. I have also considered getting an MBA. I seem to have some talent in the business and management fields, and those talents could be augmented with an education in that area. I have heard some band directors to describe the management of a band program equivalent to that of managing a small city. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to have an MBA as a band director. I have even toyed with the idea of going to law school. I have always had a passing interest in law, but I don’t know if my grades are good enough to get into a local law school, and I don’t want to move.

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Philosophy:
My personal philosophy is difficult to summarize. It consists of many different ideas all interwoven and related, but varied depending on a given issue. As an educator, I believe that students are capable of anything they set their minds too, and all they need is the proper motivation and leadership to convince them to set their mind to a task. As a person, I believe that all people deserve to be treated with respect. Far too many people today don’t know what it means to treat each other with respect. As an educator, I hope to teach my students what it means to be treated with respect and what it feels like to be treated with respect. As a person, I believe that people should take responsibility in their lives for their lives. As an educator, I hope to convey to my students the necessity and virtue of making one’s self accountable for their own actions and as a result empower my students to take more control over their own lives. As time passes and I compete my education I am sure both my goals and philosophies will change. As I gain real world experience and more time on the podium as a conductor and teacher I will undoubtedly learn what has been effective and what hasn’t been quite as effective. In turn, I hope I will be flexible enough as a person and teacher to change my philosophies and goals as needed. In biology we learn that species that are unable or unwilling to change go extinct. People are no different, if we refuse to change the way we do things, or the way we look at the world we will be doomed to become obsolete and go down in history as failures.

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