Band Director David Morden puts out a visible product to the school and community.
After graduating Stetson University with a Music Education degree, Indian Trails Band Director David Morden was given his first job — an elementary school music teacher. It was his toughest task to date.
“The shorter they are, the scarier,” he laughed. “I didn’t go to college thinking I would teach elementary school. But, you just have to learn how to interact with them.”
Morden has grown from that early learning experience to become a student favorite and — peer favorite — at Indian Trails.
“He’s funny and makes us laugh,” said Tyler Lawrence, one of his fourth-period students. “He always tries to make us the best we can be with our instruments, and he never gives up on us.”
Morden understands what it feels like to be a band student. After middle and high school band, he was convinced he wanted to share that experience with other students, so he pursued and attained his music teaching degree to teach students who possessed the same music passions he once did, and still do.
“We all enjoy doing something we’re good at,” Morden said. “So, when we give the students the tools needed to be good with their instruments, and they succeed at a high level with their instruments, they inevitably enjoy it.”
In class, Morden aims to teach his students versatility. He uses music to teach them how to be independent and how to work as a team. He also shows them how to take the lead when appropriate, as well as not taking the lead at the right times. Morden says he wants all of his students to be “thinking people.”
On getting the Teacher of the Year nomination, Morden credited the band’s visibility, saying, “What we do in band is so much more visual than other classes. We’re out in the community and around the school. They actually get to see the product we produce.”
Morden says his greatest rewards from teaching come when he sees and/or hears his students perform in high school and college bands. “It’s great to turn on a Saturday football game and see your student in the band on the field,” he said.
A great compliment for Morden comes when past students thank him for giving them band, the incentive that helps them stay in school.
“Kids will often come back and say to me, ‘I never enjoyed school, and I didn’t want to keep going, but I kept going for band, and I finished.’ That means so much to me,” Morden said.