Last spring we lost our two music teachers, Jordan Doolittle and Kandace Wartes. We felt joy for their new adventures and sorrow for our loss. Headmaster Ryan Evans wondered who could replace such great teachers and still maintain the quality of the program. He did not need to look far. God had already prepared someone to take up their mantle.
Jodi Salzman stepped into the world of music as a ten-year-old girl when she picked up the only instrument she had heard of, a clarinet. Through a connection of her mother’s, Jodi met John Fritz, who played Principal Clarinet for the Spokane Symphony. John became Jodi’s clarinet teacher and beloved mentor.
Jodi recalls, “I didn’t know that I loved music until I studied clarinet with John. His style of teaching tapped into my creative side. He used images—like a falling leaf—with the music. When I played, I felt like I was playing to a film.” Jodi listened to great musicians, visited symphony rehearsals, and participated in music competitions around town.
Jodi earned bachelor degrees from the University of Washington in Music Performance and Applied Music in Clarinet and Orchestral Instruments. She recalls, “I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life playing in the orchestra pit for Phantom of the Opera.” She continued her studies at Northwest University in Chicago, where she earned a master in Clarinet and began course work in Education. At Western Washington University, Jodi completed a Music Education Work degree and became certified to teach general, choral, and instrumental music to K-12 students.
Armed with her degrees, Jodi began a sixteen-year journey in the Northshore Public Schools where she taught band, orchestra, choir, and general music. When her daughter Hannah was born, she stepped away from teaching to be home with her, but returned to the District two years later in part-time roles.
During these years Jodi also traveled and taught abroad with her husband Tim, who is the Conductor of Wind Ensemble and Concert Bands for the University of Washington. Jodi and Tim travelled together to teach music in Japan, China, and the Philippines. Of all their travels, a highlight for Jodi was their trip to Manila in 2012. On previous trips, Tim had been the one invited and Jodi had come as a guest teacher and conductor. In the Philippines, though, she “was the one invited and Tim came along.” On this trip, Jodi served as the director of the Southeast Asia Middle School Honor Band and conducted an intensive training session for students.
In 2013 Jodi was ready to return to full-time work—just when Providence needed another grammar school teacher. Jodi switched from music specialist in the public schools to 5th grade teacher at Providence, where she remained for the next two years. At Providence Jodi found a curriculum she could fully embrace. She appreciated the rigor of the classical Christian model, and its view to develop students’ abilities to their highest potential. She was also thankful for the opportunity to be at school with her daughter.
When a leaf falls it can symbolize many things, but as it lies on the ground we think of endings. For the tree, though, it is not the end. It is simply a season of quiet. When Jodi shifted to teach 5th grade, it was not the end of her musical journey.
Change came in the spring of 2015, when the music position opened. Jodi, already part of the Providence staff and superbly prepared, picked up where the previous teachers left off. Recalling his interview with Jodi, Headmaster Ryan Evans says, “It quickly became evident that she would be the perfect fit. When we had finished, we all looked at each other and thought—slam dunk, she’s in.”
Notes We Sing
The main character in the movie The Sound of Music, Fräulein Maria, teaches music with a method called solfege. Although Providence students have not danced through Kirkland in song like the von Trapps, they also study solfege. Developed by composer Zoltan Kodaly, solfege teaches pitch and sight singing through the use of a unique musical alphabet. Using this system, Providence students “start at the very beginning”—with do, re, mi. Once they learn to apply the solfege alphabet to songs, they transition into the standard musical alphabet of A-G. The transition occurs in fourth grade with the introduction of instruments. The Kodaly method “goes along with a child’s development,” music teacher Jodi Salzman says, and beautifully matches the classical model. Later, in the secondary years, Providence incorporates music history and theory into the curriculum.
“When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most…anything!”
-Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music
Did you know?
Solfege uses a musical alphabet with seven syllables for letters–do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti.
In 1935 Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly developed solfege specifically to teach music to children.
In some countries solfege is taught at the university level as well as the grammar.
-Published in Terra Firma, Spring 2016