Anita Brown


Anita's Blog

Thoughts on Music Education

The American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, NYC (aka "The Musicians' Union") has asked me to write an essay about Music Education for publication in their monthly magazine called Allegro.  Specifically, they have asked me 


    • to discuss what I'm offering in my curricula,
    • how I think I'm making a difference, and 
    • to address the importance of teaching the next generation of musicians.


I look forward to writing this and would love to hear from some of my former students here on this interactive blog post regarding


    • how the school music program in which I was your teacher made a difference in your lives,
    • whether you feel general music and instrumental programs are important to keep in the curriculum and why,
    • whether you continue to play or attend musical events as a result of your school music experience, 
    • what your current profession, title (rank) and/or self-definition is today, 
    • the city and/or state where you currently reside, and
    • the school at which you were my student and the year of your high school graduating class.


I hope to hear back from a number of former students.  

Thanks guys!


~ "Ms. Brown"  :)


While I admit I don't still play the flute after playing for 10 years as a student, I also don't use calculus formulas, remember every country in the Allied Powers, or know which of Shakespeare's plays featured Mercutio. I do, however, still listen to music. And every so often, find myself conducting it while alone in my living room. As a student of Ms. Brown for 3 years in the mid 1990s, we weren't just taught how to play notes. We learned how the impact of our individual actions could become more than the sum of our parts. We also had a full introduction to music theory, and yes, each had a hand at conducting the band (floor, door, window, ceiling!) Music is, simply, an integral part of our culture. It surrounds us when we drive, when we shop, when we entertain and when we relax. Knowing what goes into an arrangement, how to identify the instruments, what meter it is written in, etc just helps to understand and appreciate it more. Though I am not working in the music field now, my first job in New York City was as a researcher at the League of American Orchestras, where among other things, I analyzed results of a survey of the nation's youth orchestras. Music has always been a part of my life, and I love to take advantage of the opportunity to hear all types of live music in New York City. Every so often, my arms will spontaneously mark the downbeat...
Anita Brown was my music teacher while I attended Rockland Country Day School until I graduated in 1992. Her passion for music was contagious. She opened my eyes to new and different styles of music (from baroque to Jazz to The Beatles) and gave me the courage to get on stage and sing solos. She wanted to share her passion to us and open our hearts and minds to the joy of music. She took us to Jazz Competitions in Boston and even organized a "mini-mester" which culminated in going to a professional music studio. She made learning fun and I will still hear songs that will remind me of her and her voice lessons even after all these years.
Ms. Brown was a great musical influence in my life but more importantly was so encouraging in getting on stage and entering in competitions which helped build confidence with public speaking. Though my career was not musical related the skills taught through performing helped with my career. And now as a parent music is a big part of my children's lives. Ms. Brown was my teacher at Rockland Country Day School. I graduated in 1992.
Anita Brown was my music teacher at Clarkstown High School North from 1992 to 1995. It's accurate to say that she was one of the most important figures in my life during those formative years of music study. Her passion for education and her concern for her students was unmatched by any other teacher I had at the time. Her music curriculum extended well beyond the normal daily band activity to afterschool jazz, funk and rock bands. The band room was also a place where students could go to just hang and listen to music from her vast collection of recorded music. I first heard the music of Tower of Power, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, and countless others in Ms. Brown’s classroom. In addition to whatever was going on inside the classroom, she encouraged private home music study and attendance of live music performances both locally and in nearby New York City. Of the many live performances we attended together, she would always make it a point to introduce me to some of the musicians she knew so that I could collect whatever wisdom they’d be willing to share with a young budding musician such as myself. It was with Ms. Brown’s guidance that I continued my music education after high school at the University of Miami from 1996-2000. Her support was invaluable leading up to my audition and acceptance into their Jazz Performance program. I believe that my life would’ve turned out very differently had I not had Ms. Brown as a teacher. The education and experience she provided were priceless to me. And though I went on to become a professional musician, it has been proven that general music study and experience playing an instrument helps to improve cognitive development, math and reading skills, helps to enhance learning in other subjects, and helps to develop critical thinking and social skills of any individual. Every child should have the opportunity to study music. The students who get to study music with Anita Brown are all the more fortunate. Randy Schrager New York, NY Professional Session and Live Touring Drummer CHSN Class of 1996
I don't know where to even start. Anita was an amazing and influential teacher to me. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on all of us and we were always psyched to go to music class. We were taught to appreciate all music from pop to bebop and classical. There are still many songs that when listened to remind me of her and high school music. I hope my kids get a chance to be taught by someone like her.
Left out of previous submission: Steve Doyle Clarkstown High School North 92-95 Trumpet Current profession: Police Officer
Being that this was well over 20 years ago, one star kid have a hard time remembering this. However, Anita made the learning environment unique and fun. I absolutely believe that music should be in every schools curriculum as I am the perfect example. While gen ed classes are important music allowed me to express myself and give me an opportunity I would never had had the chance otherwise. Anita wasn't a teacher showing up for her job, she had passion about the entire profession. While I am no longer playing I absolutely intend for my children to participate in their music classes (if offered). the three years I had the opportunity to be a pupil of Anita's was extremely influential even in my current career now. Thank you Anita for everything! Regards, Steve Doyle
I was a student of Ms. Brown's from the late 1980s through 1993 (I graduated high school in 1995, but transferred to a different school for the last two years). I took regular music class with her, as well as orchestra, and was lucky to be in the children's chorus she brought to a local production of Carmina Burana. I played piano in orchestra, and although I don't play music with people anymore, I remember what a truly wonderful experience it was - in that student orchestra and the children's chorus - to be a small part in a much larger musical performance. There's nothing like it. I remember learning Pink Floyd's Us and Them in her class, and other great songs that felt *real* to a kid, and I remember her having me tutor my friend in piano and fully enjoying that experience. Now, while I rarely play anymore, I have my 8-year-old daughter in piano lessons, and I encourage her every chance I get to enjoy music (she especially loves to write songs); I also sporadically attempt to learn guitar. In my free time, going to live music is my very favorite thing, and I think I can trace my love for concerts to the listening I first learned to do in Ms. Brown's class. Music is unquestionably very important in my life, and I think it is absolutely essential to a fully realized life. Thank you so much Ms. Brown! I'm so lucky to have had you as my teacher! Currently, I live in central rural Virginia, and I work as a copy editor at the University of Virginia.
Ms. Brown's music room at Clarkstown High School North '92-94 was safe place for me. I'd skip class and spend my lunches there to geek out on music and refine my craft. Her passion for music was contagious. I'd bring her demo tapes and ELP sheet music to pour over. I'll forever remember arranging Zeppelin's "Rain Song" with her on piano (still play it, btw). She pushed the boundaries of music curriculum at CHSN, and I soon found myself playing bass in the school's jazz/funk band where we'd tear up songs like Watermelon Man and Expressway to Your Heart. Good times, and such formative years. Music education with Ms. Brown and otherwise was integral to the path that lead me to become a music professional. Presently, I own a music production and licensing company and live in Jersey City.
I had a wonderful time playing in her class At the time Anita introduced me to music and songs that I normally wouldn't listen to at all. Not only did she play the songs but she would make musical arrangements that allowed the whole class to participate. Good times. We traveled to a jazz festival in Boston and did our thing I felt that Anita was one of those teachers that really cared and always put 110% of effort into her classes. I still play the Miles Davis song on keys to warm up. 30 years later. Thanks Ms Brown Ps. Right on

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