Mr. Velez Goes ‘NOLE…Reviving Music at PBL!

Josh Velez, Guest Writer

In December of 2020, I realized that the pandemic had taken a mental toll on me and that I needed to be musically reinvigorated as a music educator. The idea to go back to school after having graduated from Thee Bethune-Cookman University 18 years prior was a tough one, but one that I would not change for the world. This is exactly what I needed as a Music Educator, and I am so glad I started this journey.

I was accepted into the Summer Masters Program at Florida State University. It is a three summer program with the third and final summer taking place on FSU’s London Campus. So, this summer was my first of three, and it was truly a phenomenal experience thus far. I enrolled in 12 credit hours of courses (5 classes), and they were extremely intense. Just imagine fitting in 18 weeks worth of writing assignments, book readings, instrumental practice, etc…. all jammed into 6 weeks of school.  It was indeed one of the toughest challenges I’ve faced in a while, primarily because the classes were being taught by the actual people who wrote the textbooks for the courses! Yes, the level of expertise was off the charts as I was receiving a world class education from people that I have known for years, but only as authors of the text. Many late nights reading essays and writing 1200 word responses every other day. I am proud to announce that I passed all of my courses (with with flying colors)!!

I am now teaching a beginner guitar course here at Palm Beach Lakes because of this summer’s experience. I called Mr. Alfonso, sharing with him that I had been taking a masters level guitar class and how I thought it would be a great addition to our music department course offerings. He shared the same enthusiasm, and now we have the course! Next year, one of my courses will be Steel Pans (Steel Drums), and I plan on making that call again to Mr. Alfonso, while currently raising the funds to purchase the drums, in hopes of offering this course to our students.

The future is bright for the Music Department here at Palm Beach Lakes!