Our next guest has a super power. He can take 100 eleven-year-old kids who have never played music, give them instruments, and transform them from squawking, off key, off rhythm noise makers into award winning orchestras.
Gary Fagan is a legend in my life. He was my band teacher at J.T. Henley Middle School in Crozet, Virginia. He taught me how to read and play music, and started me on my musical journey. And over his 32 years at Henley, he passed on his love of music to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of students.
But Gary is a drummer at heart, and his first dreams were of playing drums professionally. He grew up watching his dad play in jazz bands, and eventually played drums in his dad’s band. He’s also a vocalist and a composer, and in his spare time he has composed and published over a hundred pieces of music for orchestra.
We’ll talk about his idols, from Count Basie to Buddy Rich, and he’ll give us a master class on rhythms and musical concepts, from dissecting paradiddles to explaining what playing in “concert F” means.
So how did he do it? How did he make band the coolest class in middle school? Let’s find out. Without further ado, it is my honor to introduce Gary Fagan.
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