Modern Band Teacher
“Music can name the un-nameable and communicate the unknowable.”
F-A.COM: How long have you taught at Frankford as a music teacher and choir director? Do you have any other responsibilities.
REBECCA WIZOV: This is my 2nd year at Frankford. In addition to leading the choir, I teach our modern band class which consists of a popular music ensemble, and I am the cheerleading coach for football & competition season.
F-A.COM: Where did you attend high school and college and when did you graduate?
REBECCA WIZOV: I attended Egg Harbor Township High School (in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey) and graduated in 2013.
F-A.COM: What were your immediate goals upon arriving at Frankford?
REBECCA WIZOV: My immediate #1 goal was to start a choir and use the “introduction to music” course I was teaching to give students a creative outlet to express themselves.
F-A.COM: What challenges did you overcome? What are your joys?
REBECCA WIZOV: Students lack of interest in music—especially those who were placed in my class anyway. I had to try a bunch of different methods to get them to participate.
My joys were finding the students that had a true passion and love for music, but didn’t necessarily have any foundation to build upon. I loved giving them the basic skills and tools to have fun performing music.
F-A.COM: What or who inspired you to become a music teacher? Who are your sheroes or heroes?
REBECCA WIZOV: My teachers growing up definitely inspired me. Not only the music teachers—although I had a wonderful relationship with them. They taught me a lot about who I am as a musician.
My high school French teacher and calculus teacher were also inspiring mentors.
I learned how to foster meaningful relationships with students and that teaching more than just my subject is part of the job.
My parents are a also big reason I became a music teacher. I’m grateful that they initiated my love for music by signing me up for piano lessons as a mere 5-year- old.
They also respected my wishes when I decided to quit those lessons in middle school, but supported me when I began singing lessons.
They’ve been there every step of the way in my growth as a musician and now as a teacher, and I owe it all to them!
FA-COM: What plans do you have to build the music/arts program at Frankford?
REBECCA WIZOV: I want the choir program to continue to grow! I would like to, someday soon, have multiple choir classes during the day. That’s the goal.
Eventually, once I have a large number of singers, I’ll have two different ensembles—a non-auditioned group and an “advanced” audition group. And maybe I’ll add an a cappella group in the future, as well.
I’m looking forward to growing my modern band program, and having those students accompany the choir during performances. I’m also looking forward to seeing our orchestra and concert band grow under the direction of my colleague, Brittany Cramer.
F-A.COM: I understand you're also the cheerleading coach. What challenges have you experienced with the cheerleading squad?
REBECCA WIZOV: I’ve experienced a lack of commitment and consistency with the student athletes. It’s also extremely difficult managing an after school sport with all of the responsibilities that come with being a music teacher.
F-A.COM: I saw a cheerleading competition video from several years ago and was very impressed. Have they competed in any competitions since you have led it?
REBECCA WIZOV: This is my first year as the coach. Yes, we competed in the district cheerleading competition in December. The team did a wonderful job, especially considering the fact that all but four or five athletes were brand new to cheerleading.
F-A.COM: Do the students audition for choir and cheerleading? What do you look for in a choir member and cheerleader?
No, unfortunately I do not have enough students to hold auditions. If you want to join, you’re in.
With cheerleading, if you don’t commit to coming to practice and participating, then you cannot be a part of the team. It’s the same with choir—however, because it’s a roster course, it’s a bit different.
The students will still “be” in choir, but if they have poor attendance/participation, they will fail the class.
In choir, I look for students to be motivated, willing to learn, and to love singing. They do not need to have experience, as long as they are open to being taught and eager to learn.
Cheerleading should be the same, but the students also need to be aware of the physicality that comes with cheerleading. On the surface, cheerleading isn’t as rigorous of a sport…but there’s A LOT of work that goes with it.
So, in order to be a cheerleader, students need to commit to doing the physical work that comes with it, aka conditioning!
F-A.COM: As a teacher, how have you prepared students for the post-high school world?
REBECCA WIZOV: Many of my students will not continue on to be professional musicians, music educators, etc. However, I believe my class has taught students how to appreciate music and how to express themselves and use music as an outlet.
My students will need that outlet when in the real world, work, college…whatever it may be. You don’t need anything physical, but your voice to be able to sing, and have the confidence to sing, which is built into my music class.
The simplest joy is being able to pick up a guitar, or sit at the piano, and play your favorite song. It can help you escape from the real world and become calm or relaxed.
F-A.COM: What advice would you give 2019 grads? What was the best advice given to you at that age. Finally, what is your favorite quote?
REBECCA WIZOV: My advice to 2019 grads is to never give up! Find something that you have a true passion for, and work hard towards that goal. Also. self care is not selfish!
It’s important to take care of yourself. Don’t overwork yourself to the point where you become run down--especially in your first year of college.
Find something that brings you joy to balance out with studies that might be difficult.