Don’t let Casey Jones’ youthful looks fool you; he’s got years of musical experience
Analy High School is starting the year with a new music director.
Casey Jones, 30, will be teaching 80% at Analy and 40% at Brookhaven for the coming 2019-20 school year. As part of his work at Analy, he’ll be teaching the high school’s well-respected jazz band, which was saved from the budget ax over the summer.
Jones, who grew up in Healdsburg, received his bachelor of arts in music education from Sonoma State University. He has experience playing and teaching a broad range of instruments such as clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, bassoon, strings and percussion.
Jones has been teaching for six years. At San Jose Middle School in Novato, he taught concert band, choir and jazz band. Prior to that he held a teaching position at Sonoma Valley High School that included concert band, concert choir, beginning instrumental music, ASB Leadership and extra-curricular strings. He has also taught at the Cazadero Music Camp since 2006.
Jones has played the clarinet for 20 years and currently plays in a traditional New Orleans jazz group, the King Street Giants.
“I’m really excited to bring musical community members into the program to share their music and also get kids out into the community more to share their music so you can see what it means to build community through music,” said Jones, who calls the music department “the public face of the school.”
Jones feels music education is particularly helpful for young people who are just beginning to chart their course in the world.
“It’s a good way to learn self-discipline and to measure your self discipline,” he said. “It’s amazing to see what students can accomplish through self-discipline and a strong work ethic. You always hear, ‘You can do whatever you set your mind to,’ but it’s really hard to quantify that. In music, you can really see the path and journey, where you’ve come from and where you’re going.”
He said music was actually a lifeline for him earlier in his life, especially in middle school, where he struggled a bit academically. He also sees music as part of a well-rounded life.
“I want students to realize you don’t have to do just one thing to be successful. It’s good to be a well-rounded person. You can nurture your interests, develop your passion and have a career. A good example is Brian May, the guitarist in Queen, who is a physics professor; Condoleezza Rice is a concert-trained pianist; and Neil Armstrong played the baritone horn in high school. There’s a hilarious picture of him in a cowboy costume with a tuba.”
Jones also hopes to instill in his students a lifelong love of music, whatever path they follow.
“I don’t think the majority of students that I work with will be symphonic performers, but I hope they will appreciate music wherever they go,” he said.