Archived — Carmen Gassi
Year: 2012 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
White Oaks Secondary School
1330 Montclair Drive
Oakville, Ontario L6H 1Z5
Subjects and grades taught: Music and computers for grades 11 to 12, and instrumental music for grades 9 to 12
"What's the point of practicing with a band if you never perform?"
Caution: this music teacher's passion for all things musical is contagious. Question: In what parallel world do students line up to get to class before 7 am? Answer: In Carmen Gassi's magical world of music and performance! In addition to running over eight different school ensembles, Gassi dedicates himself to providing countless opportunities for his students to thrive.
Gassi maintains a professional atmosphere in his classroom. He regards his students as young adults who have something to offer and listens to their thoughts and ideas with respect. One of his trademarks is being able to critique himself and pinpoint his own mistakes. Gassi recognizes the importance of digital media, and incorporates it into his lessons to teach his students the skills they need to make music in and for the 21st century.
- Many of Gassi's students go on to play in other ensembles or orchestras once they've completed his classes. With a mandatory ensemble performance as an integral part of his courses, new musicians learn to collaborate, play in small groups and play as part of a larger ensemble. Gassi's senior concert band is so good that they can play at level B500—the second highest academic level possible (www.youtube.com: search "Shattering Sparks by Tom de Haes Gassi").
- Gassi has developed a practice model to ensure that musicians receive the attention they need to develop in their groups; in addition to individual practice, Gassi has sectional practices and full band practices. Under Gassi's direction, the music program at White Oaks Secondary School became the largest in the school board and his groups have earned standing at national festivals on a regular basis, including at Musicfest—the highest national high school competition in Canada.
- In addition to ensemble and band practices, Gassi seamlessly integrates ICT into the music program and has students creating their own music for old commercials or movies.
"I am now aspiring to become a music teacher, and hope to influence students' lives as profoundly as Mr. Gassi influenced mine. Thanks to Mr. Gassi's outstanding example, it is now time that I begin to build and cross my own bridge."
"Mr. Gassi is a fantastic teacher because he truly believes in what he is teaching. He is a man who eats, sleeps and breathes music. For him to share this love with us is so motivating! (…) This is a man who changed my life, and the lives of many other students. He is a man that anyone would be blessed to know."
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