Tomorrow’s Mr. Holland


One of the cool things about working in a music store is meeting the different musicians who visit. A music store is a hub, a melting pot resource for those carving out their niches within an industry that is constantly changing. This is especially true for college music students who embody the next generation of professional composers, teachers, and players.

Savvy college music professors will often bridge the gap with their curriculum so that students are somewhat prepared for entering their careers. One such teacher is Mr. Dale Wolford, an Instrumental Methods professor at San Jose State University here in Northern California. His class prepares music education majors for future directing roles by discussing core repertoire for bands and orchestras, rehearsal techniques, and pedagogy. Wolford is a player at heart and strives to give his students a “real-world” sense of what they can expect as professional music teachers. The value of this cannot be measured as California’s arts education climate faces its ups and downs.

Plan a field trip to PepperPart of this reality lesson comes as a class trip to their local J.W. Pepper branch, the store I manage here in Dublin, California. Every spring Dale creates an assignment that requires research to be done while here in the store. I lead his class on a tour and answer questions about the services Pepper has to offer to them as music teachers. It’s a fun day for all… they learn to realize their potential, and I get to give back to the music teacher community that brought me up as a young musician.

If you are a college music teacher I encourage you to schedule a class visit to your local Pepper store.  Contact the manager and consider assigning an in-store project that requires them to peruse our shelves of music. If you aren’t within easy driving distance of our stores, try an assignment using our online database as a tool. We welcome you to do so, and would be glad to help you set something up.  Repertoire research empowers your students with a real-life skill that will help them become better music teachers.




Ryan Blauvelt
I am a full-time musician while dwelling in the adventurous place that is the Bay Area, California. At night I am a studio percussion teacher at Better World School of Music. I am a player at heart and have regular rehearsals and performances with various groups here and there. I also love the outdoors, live concerts, exploring SF, and baseball.


  1. Ryan- Thank you so much for the wonderful article you did concerning San Jose State University music education majors and their teacher Dale Wolford. We try to provide the strongest music education curriculum for our students, but nothing matches the experience of hands on work in the business and professional community. We appreciate you taking the time to work with these future music educators and I know they will remember their experience at J.W.Pepper’s once they enter the teaching arena.

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