The Leading Tone's after school music education program features two rock star coaches --Nicolette and Billy. Get to know them personally in class. In the meantime, here's some additional tidbits to serve as an introduction.
Coach Nicolette, more affectionately known as Coach Nic, is a sophomore at Arizona State University where she's studying music education and percussion performance. She's a classical percussionist, who sort of stumbled into playing while growing up in Washington D.C. Back when Coach Nic was just Nic, she needed to switch middle schools and was told she had to choose -- play an instrument or take home economics -- so she grabbed the bongos and has been at it ever since; she now also plays orchestral timpani and jazz vibraphone.
Coach Nic teaches The Leading Tone students about bucket drumming. She also helps develop the curriculum and lead group instruction. Her favorite part is working with children who don't necessarily have the background in musical technique and helping them learn their artistry, as well as develop their social and emotional skills. She thinks it's important for the students to develop a personal connection to the music, particularly in terms of rhythm and pulse. She finds the Bucket Band helps keep her on her toes since has to be innovative and is always looking for ways to make the after school sessions meaningful.
When she's not talking or thinking about music, you'll find Coach Nic hiking or paddle boarding.
Coach Billy started playing instruments in his school band fairly young. In fact, he grew up playing drums and singing in his church choir too. In high school he started stepping. He was part of a stepping team and often traveled around Arizona to step at different schools. Now he teaches stepping at The Leading Tone. He likes combining movement and music and loves the excitability that comes from the art. His favorite part is watching students explore something outside the box and challenging themselves to more. Often times, Coach Billy will hear someone say 'I can't do it.' Then after they break a combination down, it's followed with 'Hey, Coach Billy, I got it!' He's thrilled that the stepping experience goes beyond the classroom and into the students' households and communities.
Coach Billy studied psychology and communications in college. He's an avid spoken word artist and enjoys working with musical elements and theater. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director for BlackPoet Ventures, a multimedia arts entity that focuses on keeping alive the spoken and written works of the African diaspora.