Charles McGhee is the band director at Double Peak K-8 School in the San Marcos Unified School District, just North of San Diego. This is Charlie’s final year as a band director and he joins the show to share some of the wisdom he's learned in 30 years of teaching.
Charlie McGhee is in his 30th year as a Middle School music teacher. He began his career in Escondido Union School District and for the last 25 years he has been teaching in the San Marcos Unified School District. During his tenure as a music teacher, Charlie has had the privilege of starting music programs in 5 different North County schools; Rincon Middle, L.R. Green, Woodland Park Middle, San Elijo Middle and Double Peak K-8 School.
Charlie’s current assignment is Double Peak K-8 School where he was able to design an intensive music program for all the students Kinder thru 8th grade, which involves music classes twice a week for the younger grades. Then, in the upper grades everyone gets class instruction on recorders, violin, Clarinet, and finally on trumpet before starting their career in Beginning Band.
Although Charlie teaches Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Band, his passion has always been for Jazz band, which he also started at each of his school assignments. In fact, ten years ago, while he was at San Elijo Middle School, he started his own Jazz Festival where, after the students perform and are graded with comments by professionals, the judges and the teachers get up on stage and perform for the students! There is nothing more exciting than for these students to see their director’s play jazz.
Charlie’s philosophy of Music Education stems from the conviction that students need to feel connected to school. Music Education addresses the needs of many students who have not found a connection in their other classes. Therefore, the cornerstone of his philosophy is to first, involve the students in music, then, support and encourage them through “the difficult things like, the rigor of playing an instrument”, and finally instill in them a passion for a lifetime.
Charlie’s Bands consistently score superior ratings at festivals as he holds the highest expectations for his students. During his career, Charlie has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” at four different schools and once was the District Teacher of the Year” for San Marcos Unified. Over the years, he has been sought after as an Honor Band Director and he has presented several Jazz clinics for both CMEA and SCSBOA conferences. Most recently, Charlie was awarded the “Educator of the year” award by the San Diego Youth Symphony at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Charlie incorporates a Parent Band Booster organization to assist him in making the musical experience more exciting and special for the students. Charlie’s students regularly attend festivals and clinics at Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. He always has his eye out for new places for his students to perform! Performances always make the experience of playing music fresh and exciting! Charlie has played professionally his entire life on drums and percussion. Among the many bands that Charlie regularly plays with is the Ira Liss Big Band Jazz Machine from San Diego. He has recorded 5 CDs with this organization. Charlie is from San Diego and lives with his wife Jane in Encinitas. When Charlie is not at school or playing music you can find him jogging on the beach or with a fishing pole in his hand.
A podcast featuring conversations with teachers, composers, and performers of music for winds and percussion.