Students Prepare for Young Music Maker 2018 Series
Strings Teacher Passes on Love of Broadway Musical Theater to Students
While a good deal of Charles duChateau’s professional career had been spent as an associate conductor and cellist on Broadway prior to being hired by the Tuckahoe School District, his role as a strings teacher to middle and high school students has been equally gratifying.
“The role of the conductor is like being a teacher,” said Mr. duChateau, referring to the similarities in both professions and how they each have the power to positively influence students.
“I treat them not much different than I would a regular orchestra and they like that,” added Mr. duChateau, who teaches students in grades 6 through 10. The program will continue to expand over the next two years until it encompasses the 11th and 12th grades.
At the middle school level, Mr. duChateau introduces students to various exercises to build upon their technique and musicianship and to expand on the skills they’ve already learned in the elementary music program.
Performance material usually includes excerpts from both classical and modern repertoire. Students in the higher grades get the opportunity to explore chamber music and the chance to perform solo.
During a recent class, seventh-graders went from practicing “The Prince of Denmark’s March” to a rendition of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Purple Haze.”
Students routinely learn all sorts of music styles, from revolutionary war songs to performing in small ensembles that include the viola, violin, cello and bass.
The Colorado native, who is currently an associate conductor in the Rodgers & Hammerstein revival of “Carousel,” spent the early years of his professional career on tour. That included stints on the “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon” national tours where he met his wife, Annbrit duChateau, who is an associate music director and conductor of Disney’s “Frozen” on Broadway.
His foray into teaching began at Young at Arts, a performing arts educational group based in Bronxville. He is the organization’s artistic and musical director and his wife serves as a music director, conductor and vocal coach.
Having taught at Young at Arts for the past six years and now a seasoned educator in the Tuckahoe Schools, Mr. duChateau said he has learned how to combine his professional expectations with the appropriate pedagogical strategies.
“What I give them is perhaps unique because of my background,” he said.
“I’m sure many of them won’t play professionally, but hopefully I’m exposing them to a wider world culturally that will allow them to appreciate different types of music,” he said.
Mr. duChateau said it’s important that the students learn to not rush their playing. Instead, he wants them to enjoy playing and to consider music a fun activity.
On May 9, the entire middle and high school Strings Program had the opportunity to perform in the Young Music Maker 2018 Series on Lincoln Center’s outdoor plaza. Afterward, they took a tour of the Lincoln Center campus and then attended a matinee performance of Carousel at the Imperial Theater.