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Teacher's love of music started at an early age

December 15, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Lisa Jordan was a student at Potomac Heights Elementary School in Hagerstown when something happened that changed her life forever.

"Someone came around with some musical instruments and we got to try to play them," Jordan said.

Since that day, music has been a big part of her life.

Jordan, the new band director at Williamsport High School, said that early introduction to music set her on the path that this year led to her teaching position at Williamsport.

Jordan, who graduated from West Virginia University in May, rated the university's music department as excellent.

Not only did she further her performance skills on the oboe at WVU, but Jordan said she learned how to teach music to others.

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"If you are going to be an educator, you need to know much more than just playing your instrument well," she said.

Jordan has been working with a core group of 77 performing musicians in the Williamsport Blue Band.

"We have been focusing on our rhythmic reading of the music," Jordan said. "They are fine at performing the music, but they also need to be able to sight read."

It's not just the musical notes, she said.

"They play the right notes, it's the beat where they need to improve. And they are."

The Christmas program will be presented Thursday at 7 p.m. at the school. The concert and jazz bands will play, as will the full orchestra.

As band director, Jordan has the responsibility for pointing out shortcomings and strengths. But she also encourages her musicians to critique themselves.

"I ask them what they think and to take responsibility on their own," she said. "These students are very dedicated."

In the spring, the band members will hold a fund drive to raise money for new music and the repair of musical instruments, according to Tajah Sprecher, who works with the Williamsport Blue Band Boosters.

A Hagerstown native, Jordan is the only child of Linda and Kenneth Hollar. She graduated from North Hagerstown High School.

"Music has always been in my life," Jordan said.

While her parents were supportive, they had no musical backgrounds so it was that introduction in elementary school that Jordan said charted her course.

She began playing the flute in the fourth- and fifth-grade band at Potomac Heights. Early efforts to point her toward the clarinet failed, she said. When Jordan went to Northern Middle School, she made the switch to the oboe.

"Michelle Benda was my mentor there," Jordan said.

Jordan, who also played the alto saxophone for the jazz band at Northern Middle, said she plans to take things slowly during her first year at Williamsport.

"We went to Carlisle, Pa., in October to play so they could better themselves," she said.

There also have been several tournament of band competitions during the school year, and plans are being made for a spring band trip in 2006.

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