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Erasmo Rodriguez Castaneda » Philosophy / Mission / Vision

Philosophy / Mission / Vision

Music, as a universal language, is a basic expression of human beings. Music provides opportunities for an expression of feeling, a discovery of what the self is like, and builds bridges of understanding, respect, and appreciation between individuals and groups in ways that no other part of the educational experience can duplicate. Every child should have the opportunity to explore and develop his/her abilities to perform, create, listen, and understand music.


One of my main focus is on musicianship, well-roundedness, but mostly on the lifelong meaningful experiences and values, we acquire by just being involved in making music. It is too often that we see programs
focusing (while having the “heart in the right place,” ) on the wrong things.
This is one of the pressing issues with very competitive music programs especially when dealing with the marching element. Often these schools focus on a trophy, and yet, our students often lack the necessary music literacy skills. In today’s socio-economic and political climate, competition turns into the “game of haves and have-nots.” Therefore, competition should not be the catalyst, but well-rounded music education instead.
My goal is to make sure that every single student I encounter turns to appreciate and love music for the rest of their lives. There is countless research that now shows the great benefits of music education, but in the end, as a music teacher, it takes ONE PERSON, to make a difference in a child’s life.
This is very personal for me because I had the same experiences when I was young -- and it is now, my turn to make sure I am that person who will influence students’ lives so that when they grow, they appreciate and become future music-loving, performance goers, and advocates.
As educators, we must value all aspects of human development, including the various ideas and strengths of every student. We must also understand the different styles of learning and abilities of each learner. One must also not just be aware of these factors, but also must be fully committed and recognize the richness that every individual brings to our classroom. I feel that these values deeply connect to my subject area. We must also strive for change as we see that is urgent in our current educational system.
After exploring the resources throughout my career, the central theme that resonates is the idea that such a job comes with great responsibility. Wanting to make a change may be the reason one chooses to become a teacher as I feel one may provide an actual tangible change in someone, or in a community.
Being involved in social change is not just crucial for a teacher. Any well-educated professional should be, and most of the time is engaged in some activity that may give back to the community. We join organizations that promote diversity such as NAFME, CMEA, CBDA, and the many explored through the course of a lifetime. Similarly, lawyers take part in pro-bono cases, and doctors also join organizations like Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders.
I think these are some of the examples that educators are compelled to help in some changing in society. I believe that as we further educate ourselves, we don’t just learn new techniques or theories. But our eyes are also open to social conflicts and things that may be wrong in society.
In short, as we further educate ourselves, our understanding of the world and awareness of needed change is also heightened.

The vision of the program:

The Prospect High School Instrumental Music Department is an organization dedicated to musical growth. I feel very fortunate to be working with such an accomplished group of students. With the many classes offered, I look forward to the opportunity to work with each and every student to develop his/her individual abilities.


Therefore, as the music director, it is my responsibility to provide the students with a comfortable learning environment that includes participation, trust, commitment, and teamwork. I believe this environment is further developed through time, effort, and respect for one another. Through the combined efforts of the students, the parents, and I, we can reach new heights of growth throughout the program and most importantly, to  bring the vision and mission of our school and our music program to fruition

Why Music Matters
a talk by prominent composer and conductor Jack Stamp