NHS Instrumental Teacher, Mr. Vincent Vicchiariello, Shares His Experience of Teaching at NHS
Instrumental teacher, Vincent Vicchiariello, has been teaching in Nutley for 10 years in total, but is currently in his second year at Nutley High School. Mr. Vicchiariello has taught music for 11 years in total. He has taught at Nutley elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school throughout the past 10 years. He teaches a variety of instrumental classes, like Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Instrumental Music Lessons, Music Fundamentals 1, Survey of Pop Music, and is the director of the Marching Band.
Vicchiariello started playing drums at just 8-years-old. Although he has been teaching at Nutley for the past 10 years, his history in Nutley is much longer. Vicchiariello attended Radcliffe School and played drums in the band.
There was one moment that Mr. Vicchiariello experienced where he realized he wanted to teach music. Years ago, when he was in fifth grade, he broke one of his wrists. He was very saddened by it because he loved playing the drums, but he only had one hand. His instrumental teacher told him, “I don’t care if you’re the only one handed drummer I taught.” This small moment really touched his life because it showed him that his teacher cared about him. Vicchiariello explains to The Maroon and Gray, “A teacher isn’t really only there to teach you, but they are there to care about you as well.”
Someone that he always looked up to was Mr. Maiello, who now teaches at the middle school, but was his band director senior year. Mr. Maiello prepared him for his musical career in college, pushed him to his limits, and made him realize what he needs to do in order to be successful in the music world. He is one of the reasons why Mr. Vicchiariello is a teacher now.
Once he got to high school, he was heavily involved in music and truly found a love for it. Although Vicchiariello has been working in Nutley for the past decade, he always told himself when he was younger that he was never going to come back to Nutley and teach because he didn't want to teach in his hometown. Then, the opportunity of being an instrumental music teacher opened up at elementary level in Nutley. Vicchiariello adds, “No I didn’t dream of coming back, but it worked out well and I am happy to be here.”
Since Mr. Vicchiariello teaches so many classes, he has to learn how to balance it all. Most of his ensembles are similar, so it allows him to cross each class similarly. Although, for his honors classes he has to take things to the next level. He teaches music fundamentals, which is music theory, he calls it the, “guts of music.” You learn the foundation of how music is made. Vicchiariello makes sure all students have a foundation or a little experience of music before entering certain classes and know the basics of music.
Another class that he teaches is Survey of Pop. This class makes him meet students outside of the “music world.” Vicchiariello's true way of balancing all of his classes is by putting time and preparation into each class and collaborating with his colleagues.
The biggest reward Vicchiariello gets in return is seeing people doing well in his classes. He explains that there is no better feeling than a prior student of his auditioning for college or an honors group and having them successfully get in. Also after a concert, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smiles of joy and success on kids faces. “Seeing all students do well is very rewarding, even if I don't teach them in music,” Vicchiariello explains. “If I get a life lesson across and touch lives in some way that hasn’t been done before, it is a big reward of doing what I do.”
Challenges can also come along with this job. Vicchiariello has to adjust to different types of students' learning styles and the fact that everyday is different. Understanding that a student may be having a bad day can be challenging sometimes. He just wants to make sure that his classes are safe and nurturing environments.
Since music is different than other subjects, Vicchiariello and his students spend a lot of time together. When there is a show coming up, they spend countless amounts of hours together practicing. Although he is very connected with many of his students, they realize that there is a line of having fun and getting work done, so there is a mutual sense of respect.
Mr. Vicchiariello aspires to be someone that influenced his students’ lives. His overall goal at NHS is to teach music and make them better musicians. He also wants to be someone that supports them in anything they do and that he will be there for them because he realizes not all students are going to be musicians in the future. He says, “I want to be someone that is influential in their life and someone that supports them in anything they do and know that I am here for them throughout high school and beyond.”