Middle school band instructor turns knowledge of, passion for music into career

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Deanna McGlothlin has taught band in the Oregon Trail School District for 12 years.Deanna McGlothlin seemed destined to follow a musical path. Though her mother's choice of instrument — the clarinet — did not end up as a good fit, McGlothlin has played music since she was 12, married a fellow musician out of college and has now worked for 12 years to share her musical knowledge with others.

She may not have always known she wanted to teach, but McGlothlin was reasonably certain her career would be based in music. A native of Alexandria, Minn., McGlothlin left what she considers a stellar high school music program to broaden her horizons at the University of Oregon, where she recieved a bachelor's degree in music performance.

It was after a few years of playing in Eugene symphonic groups and watching her husband Rob thrive in the educational setting that made her determined to return to school. She eventually received a master's degree in elementary education from Portland State University.

"When we moved (to the Sandy area), I was kind of at a crossroads," McGlothlin said. "Performing was fun, but it wasn't fulfilling."

McGlothlin began her career in music education in Estacada. After a year she came to Sandy to teach band at Cedar Ridge Middle School. Three years later she was teaching at both Cedar Ridge Middle and Boring Middle schools.

McGlothlin had some prior experience teaching from being a one-on-one tutor, but she attributes her classroom management skills to that year she spent in Estacada. She also appreciates that as a full-time teacher she is "seeing the kids every day."

"Seeing what they can do sometimes just blows me away," she noted. "It's amazing what they can do if you set expectations and remove obstacles. I think people underestimate children, big time."

Though funding — or the lack thereof — is not a unique challenge to music teachers, McGlothlin noted that is still a major challenge.

"I want every kid to have a good instrument," she said. Most of the time, that's just not possible.

When McGlothlin isn't teaching or practicing her French horn she likes to read, garden or enjoy time with her cats and husband.

If you're interested in seeing McGlothlin in action and hearing her students, the Boring Middle School bands will perform a concert at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, which is open to the public at the school, 27801 S.E. Dee St. All are welcome, but must show identification to enter.

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