The sound of success


Alex Welsh

James Baum conducting the high school band during an RB football game.

Allie Welsh, Staff Reporter

James Baum, Instrumental music teacher at Riverside Brookfield High School has been selected to teach as an adjunct professor at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He will be teaching a class called Secondary General Music Methods.

“Most of my work has involved teaching future music teachers how to teach young musicians who are in music classes that aren’t ensemble classes like RB’s Fine Arts Survey and Music Creativity classes,” said Baum.

Baum has been gaining knowledge from his college teachings which is also beneficial for his students at RB.

“I teach down in the city on Tuesday nights and although it has been a lot of work, it hasn’t impacted my teaching at RB. Teaching college has made me a better teacher for the students of RB,” said Baum. “As a large portion of the coursework in college is reading research articles. I’ve gotten back into the current research being done in the field of music which has been very informative,”

His creativity and passion for music sprouted when he was a child. When Baum was in the fourth grade he was offered, just like many kids, new instrumental lessons. Ever since then his passion for music took off from there.

It was a realization for Baum what needed to be done in the music education programs.

“What made me interested in secondary general music though was my course work during my Masters at Northwestern University. I studied creative musical thought and immediately realized that we [music education in general] I could be doing a better job of reaching the students who aren’t already in a music class,” said Baum.

Baum’s music creativity class consists of peoples love and passion towards any type of music. You also do not have to know about what it takes to produce a song, you just listen to the music and the way it sounds.

“Ever since then it has been my goal to tear down the barriers that separate what happens in a music classroom and what young musicians are doing at home. This is the whole idea behind RB’s Music Creativity,” said Baum.

Baum’s class is there to help the already good performers learn to teach what they know to high school students.

However, most of my students have not thought about what it might be like to teach high school students who aren’t interested in taking band orchestra or choir. So the trick is to get them to think like those musicians and design coursework that is appropriate to those students,” said Baum.

“I’ve also had to become even more reflective on my own teaching techniques in order to teach others how to teach. It’s been quite rewarding!” said Baum.