For Brandon Catt, Glenbard East High School's director of choirs, teaching students involves more than just making them better musicians.
"It's been really fun working with those kids and getting them to move along not only in their musical journey, but in their individual growth as people," he said.
Music Educator Award quarterfinalistsHere's a look at the other Illinois quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award presented by the Grammy Foundation and The Recording Academy:
• Corey Ames, Loyola Academy
• Josh Chodoroff, Waubonsie Valley High School
• Andy Davis, Reavis High School
• Mark Duker, Waubonsie Valley High School
• Michael Fansler, Western Illinois University
• Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, O'Fallon Township High School
• Nancie Kozel Tobison, Barrington High School
• Gordon Krauspe, Wheaton Warrenville South High School
• Stevi Marks, Glenbrook South High School
• Charles Morgan, Joliet Junior College
• Matthew Neylon, Rockford Christian Schools
• Glen Schneider, Metea Valley High School
• Roxanne Stevenson, Chicago State University
• Diana Wiley-Harrigan, Sauk Elementary School
His approach seems to be working.
Catt recently was named a quarterfinalist for the second annual Music Educator Award presented by the Grammy Foundation and The Recording Academy. He was a quarterfinalist for the same award last year.
The Music Educator Award honors those who have contributed to music education and who are dedicated to keeping music classes in schools.
There are 222 quarterfinalists for the award, including 15 from Illinois.
The field will be narrowed to the semifinalists in September.
Catt received his music education degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a master's degree from Concordia University Chicago. Next year at Glenbard East, Catt said he will be the director of choirs as well as the fine arts department chairman.
He's been teaching at the school since 2009.
Besides teaching several choral ensembles, Catt also brought to the school a vocal jazz program and student-run ensembles, where students get experience in music education.
He also started a singing group called Voices of East and brought back the Ramparts, a program where students sing the national anthem at events.
Catt says his role "is to help students reach their full potential in life, and I get to use music as my tool to do that."
He said things such as music and the arts are what people look forward to. At Glenbard East, music and the fine arts provide the same gift, he said.
"This gives them (students) a way to have a release and to express themselves and to be heard," he said.
The winner of the award will be selected from 10 finalists and that teacher will receive a $10,000 honorarium, as well as admission to the Grammy Awards event.
But for Catt, the competition is not about him; it's about the kids.
"For me ... it's not about winning the thing," he said. "I think it's cool that we have the exposure for what the kids do in the choral program, and it draws some attention to them. That's what I'm excited about."