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Feb 17, 2010 10:10 PM by Andy Koen

Teacher strums passion for music into students hearts

Ron Ellis says teaching music is a bit like cooking.  You can have all the right ingredients but until everthing comes together, you're never sure of what you're gonna get.

"We have a concert next week with the bands and I kept thinking are we going to come together, cause I think I maybe get more nervous than the kids, but now my nerves are gone," Ellis said.

"I listened to them today and they sounded pretty good."

Despite the unpredictable nature of his classes, he says it's also rewarding.  And it's why he's still teaching even after 25 years.

"Sharing music, whether it be with a student or with an audience is always exciting and always rewarding."

Ellis is the instrumental music teacher at North Middle School in District 11.

His classes include orchestra, jazz band, and even the city's first Mariachi club. But his guitar classes are especially close to his heart.

"There's a lot of songwriters out there that are guitar players and they can be mighty guitar players or they can be guitarists that are modestly endowed with a vocabulary of maybe 6 or 8 chords and they can be good," Ellis said.

It's also an instrument that draws in students who may otherwise not get into music.
"I think music gives them an opportunity to, for a life long pursuit."

For opening so many young minds to that pursuit, Ron Ellis is our February Teachers First Award Winner.

Tell us about a special teacher in your child's life.  Click here for a nomination form and instructions.

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