Thomas Goodrich, educator, conductor, violist and composer, is Director of Orchestras at the Denver School of the Arts. Prior to moving to Colorado, Thomas conducted the La Cueva High School orchestras in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Under his direction, the La Cueva Camarata was twice recognized as the state’s Honor Orchestra by the New Mexico Music Educators’ Association and received top awards at national competitions. In his last year at La Cueva, twenty-nine orchestra members were awarded seats in the New Mexico All-State Orchestras.
Mr. Goodrich served as Director of Music at The Menaul School, Chamber Music Coordinator for the Jefferson Academy, Instructor for the Suzuki Violin Program of Columbus, Assistant Conductor of the Columbus Symphony Cadet Orchestra and founding director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Prelude Strings. He has served as clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor at numerous festivals throughout the country and has taught at summer music camps for the College of Santa Fe, Albuquerque Youth Symphony’s “Bach to Basics” and Hummingbird Music Camp.
Thomas received his BME from Ohio State and completed his student teaching with Dr. Robert Gillespie. He received his MM from the Mannes College of Music, where he studied viola with Karen Ritscher and John Graham, and served as principal violist of the Mannes Symphony. He is an alumnus of the Meadowmount School and has performed with numerous orchestras including the New York Chamber Ensemble, Breckenridge Music Festival, Bronx Opera, Opera Northeast, the Friends and Enemies of New Music and the Santa Fe Symphony.
Mr. Goodrich has served as both Treasurer and Member-At-Large for the executive board of the New Mexico American String Teachers’ Association. Other memberships include the American Federation of Musicians, the American String Teachers’ Association, and Music Educators’ National Conference.
Born and raised in Westerville, Ohio, Thomas studies Zen and lives near downtown Denver with his dog, Annie, who recently invited him to hike their first 14’er.
Teaching is a consequential social practice. A commitment to excellence in education at all levels means not only learning as personal development, but as an integral part of our role as educators and members of our communities. Successful teaching values intellectual effort, diversity, striving for excellence both musically and technically, and respect for perspectives other than our own.
Students do not arrive in classrooms as empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge. Hence, the teachers prime function is to facilitate and teach students in a variety of styles using diverse materials, always encouraging them to identify, challenge, and test assumptions and to take different perspectives from which to critically encounter and evaluate their world. Learning about music is an active, social, and collaborative process between student, teacher, family and community. Successful teaching integrates cooperative learning exercises and individual work as vehicles for self-directed and shared learning. Consequently, students must be encouraged to take their musical studies seriously and learn to respect that class attendance and participation are of the utmost importance in their own and other students’ learning.
As a lifelong activity, learning is a process that teachers constantly undergo along with their students. Teaching, like any other communicative interaction, is not linear or one-way and thus requires respect and openness to learning as one also teaches. Successful strategies which enhance this collaborative learning process and the development of the classroom as a learning community include: relating class subject matter to student lives, making the learning process and inviting and welcome experience, and engaging students collaboratively in the development of class content. Inviting students to analyze and critique class teaching materials and encouraging them to suggest new music to perform results in the development of a learning community in the classroom that respects diversity and actively takes into considerations what students themselves bring to the learning process. I am committed and dedicated to excellence in teaching music, to teaching as a community practice, to helping others succeed, and to lifelong learning.