Escobar, RobertoWe are thrilled to introduce to you to Mr. Roberto Escobar, who will be our Subject Expert Teacher (SET) for Music as well as Band and Orchestra. In grades 2–5, students will take music classes each week, and starting in grade 6, students can select Band and Orchestra as their elective.

Mr. Escobar says, “I am looking forward to joining BASIS Independent Bellevue and passing along my knowledge and passion for music to students!”

We hosted a Q&A session to get to know Mr. Escobar. Check out the full interview below to learn more.

What excites you about being a founding faculty member at BASIS Independent Bellevue?
The founding aspect is arguably the most exciting part! The fact that I get to spearhead the Music Program and build its foundation and what it will look like in the future is incredible. BASIS Independent Schools have an amazing reputation of high standards and expectations, and it is exciting to hear parents are invested in their students’ education. I feel honored to have the opportunity to be part of the growth of these future musicians.

Give us a little insight into your background so our families can get more acquainted with you.
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, which sits on the border of the U.S and Mexico, so there is a great deal of cultural diversity. My interest in music started at a very young age and began with my exposure to hymns within my parent’s church ministry. In middle school, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in band; the first instrument I learned to play was the trombone. Over the years I had so many amazing band directors whose passion ignited my own. As a result, I decided to pursue this as a career and continue to pass along this passion.

In college, I was exposed to an even greater variety of music and participated in an assortment of ensembles, including jazz, classical, funk, and Latin groups. During my last year at university, I had the opportunity to perform in England at different cathedrals with the University Choir, which was a wonderful experience. I have also conducted jazz seminars in Mexico. I graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelors in Music Education, where I am also currently completing my Masters in Instrumental Conducting.

I began my teaching career with Grade 5 students where I would introduce them to recorders, and have since been a Jazz Project Director and Middle School Band Director. I also teach private lessons to middle and high school students, many of whom have become top performers in Texas.

Where does your passion for music come from?
I was raised in a Hispanic culture and community—my mother is Mexican and my father is Honduran—and they brought their culture and music home to the United States. Growing up, my weekends were for cleaning and blasting Latin music. At home, I was exposed to Latin music, while at school I was exposed to the popular 90’s music that I also grew up with. Being in-between two very different genres of music encouraged me to continue my exploration of music. I enjoyed music class in elementary school because I began to learn the basics of music and how to play an instrument, and it was supplemented by my teachers who furthered my musical exploration by introducing jazz and classical music. To this day I enjoy exploring new kinds of music and am excited to broaden the horizons of my future students at BASIS Independent Bellevue.

What skills will you focus on building?
One of the main things I want to focus on is unlocking musical creativity. You do not need to be classically trained in order to begin creating. With modern day technology and different methods of teaching, students can create music through a phone, laptop, and even paper. I want to give students the tools and confidence in their creative ability to create music that they are passionate about. I want music to serve as an outlet for students outside of typical academic courses like math, reading, and science. I look forward to teaching them that there is no such thing as wrong or bad music. I want students to be confident, expressive, and feel proud of what they are able to create.

What is your goal for each student?
My goal is for students to become better than me. I will teach them to be independent musicians who can confidently perform solo or in a group. I will give students autonomy within the classroom to develop their own musical goals and pursue their personal academic goals.

Do you have a favorite instrument to play?
The primary instrument I play is the trombone, and I first started playing in grade 6 and continue to this day. As a music educator, I had to learn how to play all the instruments, including band and wind instruments as well as orchestral. I have even taken vocal lessons as the voice can be considered an instrument in and of itself. My trombone is a part of me, it’s like an extra limb after playing it for so many years. I love playing all sorts of different music with it.

What is your favorite musical piece to play?
I love to play jazz and anything jazz related. The piece I enjoy playing the most would have to be Watermelon Man by Herbie Hancock. I enjoy playing a good funky tune.

To listen to Watermelon Man and learn more about the origin of this song, please click here.

Who is your favorite musician?
A truly inspirational musician to me is Wycliff Gordan, who is a jazz trombone artist. I remember growing up thinking “I want to be like that guy” and to this day I still feel that way! To me, great musicians have the ability to be versatile and create music within a variety of genres.

What is your experience leading after-school clubs?
In the past, I’ve led an Acapella Club where we hosted a concert at the end of the school year. I’ve also taught Jazz Club and private lessons.

BASIS Independent Bellevue is a private school opening fall 2022. We will open with Grades 2 - 7 to start and add a grade level each school year as we expand to a full middle and high school (Grades 5 - 12).

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