As Oswego High School’s band and choir students prepare for their annual Crystals concert, Kevin Schoenbach, one of the band’s co-directors, is working hard to prepare the bands for their upcoming projects. Mr. Schoenbach has been a band teacher at OHS for 21 years and began his teaching career at Northern Illinois University as a performative music major.
In his sophomore year of high school, Mr. Schoenbach’s band director pushed him to further his career in music. Starting as a performative major, his director again reached out and encouraged him to channel his passion for music into education.
“He made me promise I would take an introduction to music ed class…and I did and fell in love with it,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
As a co-director, he teaches chamber winds, symphonic winds, concert band, and wind ensemble with Stephanie San Roman, along with also assisting small groups and individual students in their solo performances.
Outside of the school day, Mr. Shoenbach conducts the OHS jazz band and plays the trombone in wedding and jazz bands.
“That’s why I fell in love with music in the first place; I enjoyed playing it, so I had to keep that going,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
Mr. Schoenbach is known to have a very bright and eccentric energy that he carries with him each day. He tries to ingrain in his students that if they give themselves a chance to succeed from the beginning, they will have a much more enjoyable experience in band, urging students to fall in love with music and find joy in learning the ins and outs of it.
“I want the students to find the experience to be rewarding and also fun, and I don’t think there’s any reason those two things have to be disconnected; they can be one and the same,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
Mr. Schoenbach’s positive enthusiasm is a huge part of his teaching philosophy.
“As for my energy, that’s just how my personality is, and it carries over to the podium,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
His students are encouraged to improve their musicality and advance their skills throughout high school. Many of his previous students have continued to pursue music during college and in their careers. Mr. Schoenbach practices various approaches with his students, such as sight reading, singing and breathing exercises, and playing musical pieces by memory.
“I think we have a good mix. There are certain things we do every day—routines; I think that’s important, but there are also certain things I like to keep students on their toes with,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
There is a large range of talent and technique displayed in OHS band, so Mr. Schoenbach tries to individualize each student’s skills through sectionals during class. If a student needs help with notes or rhythms, that is what they will focus on, whereas another student may be ready to try some more advanced playing techniques. The skills learned in class are completely tailored to the students’ needs.
“We try give feedback and give things for students to improve on,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
Mr. Schoenbach plans to continue to inspire and teach band students here at OHS, and his passion for music will carry through to each of his students every day. His advice to incoming students is to really try and give yourself time to learn and grow as a musician.
“Anything you do is more fun, when you give yourself a chance at success,” Mr. Schoenbach says.
Hello! I'm Fionnuala Quinn. I'm currently a sophomore at OHS and this is my first year of journalism. Apart from journalism, I am involved in Cross Country, Track and Feild, and Best Buddies.