VMEA District I
2016 Music Teacher of the Year Nominee
Joanne Scott has been teaching and performing music in Vermont and New York City for over forty years and 2016 begins her twenty-first year as Music Director at the Fairfield Center School in Fairfield, Vermont. She is the adjunct clarinet instructor at Johnson State College and also maintains a private clarinet and piano studio.
Ms. Scott received her Performing Arts/Music Education undergraduate degree from Johnson State College in 1975, where she was a clarinet student of Efrain Guigui. Joanne performed with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as clarinet soloist, and played clarinet and bass clarinet in the summer Vermont Composers Conference orchestra and ensembles, premiering and recording a number of compositions by contemporary American composers. Ms. Scott also served as the Wolcott Elementary School music teacher during the 1974-75 school year. In the years hence, she has earned a plethora of graduate credits from the University of Vermont, Castleton and Johnson State Colleges, and Plymouth State University.
In 1975, Joanne moved to New York City where she studied clarinet with Leon Russianoff, Peter Simenauer, William Blount, and Carmine Caruso. During the next fifteen years, Ms. Scott and played Eb, Bb and A, clarinets, basset horn, & bass clarinet in symphonic, opera, ballet, and chamber orchestras, plus the Sims, Goldman & Kingsborough summer concert bands. Always interested in new music, she premiered Christopher James’ Clarinet Concertino at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1981. Additionally, Joanne played saxophone in Latin & Big Bands in the New York metropolitan area. Ms. Scott taught clarinet and piano throughout her NYC tenure, and held a New York City Board of Education teaching license. Joanne always kept day jobs, working for G. Schirmer, Hitachi, Merrill Lynch, Ardsley Music, the New York Philharmonic, and the architect I.M. Pei.
Upon returning to her Vermont family homestead, Joanne taught music at Richford Jr./Sr. High School, and Berkshire, Montgomery & Sheldon Elementary & Middle Schools. In 1995, with the reopening of the 1809 Fairfield Common School, Ms. Scott began her tenure at the Fairfield Center School. With absolutely nothing to work with, Joanne immediately fundraised to purchase a new digital piano, used sound equipment for music room listening, a few CDs and some printed music. For the past twenty years, the music department has fundraised its way to a very well equipped program! Ms. Scott teaches at least a dozen weekly Kindergarten through Eighth grade General Music classes in this historic building, incorporating classroom instruments, recorder instruction, world drumming, guitar class, traditional and digital music composition, music technology, movement, choreography, and musical theater.
Ms. Scott provides private and group lessons to over 50 Fifth through Eighth grade instrumental music students, during the school day. She has continually fundraised to support the music program’s growth, is always searching for donated or loaned instruments to give to her students, and shares many of her personal instruments with her students. She directs a thriving 35+ member Concert Band, the 20 piece Jazz Ensemble, the Middle School Chorus, and a number of chamber groups. Joanne also donates her time in the evenings, on weekends and during school breaks to work with students to prepare for auditions, festivals, talent shows, and concerts. Additionally, Joanne has over a dozen after school piano students who participate in classroom and ensemble performances, as well.
Fairfield’s General, Instrumental and Choral music students perform in the school’s December and May school-wide concerts, musicals, talent shows, plus a variety of ceremonial concerts every year, with Ms. Scott as conductor and piano accompanist. The school’s Band and Pep Squad have appeared regularly in the St. Albans Maple Festival Parade and Vermont Dairy Day Parade. Sixth through eighth grade Instrumental and Vocal students have performed in the VMEA District I Middle School Music Festivals since 1996, and the Fairfield Jazz Ensemble, “52 Soule Drive”, has performed in Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival “Jazz on the Marketplace” for the past ten years. The Fairfield Jazz Ensemble has also had the great fortune to work with the late Lester Bowie, the Vermont Jazz Ensemble, Fontella Bass, the Bosman Twins, and the Joe Levesque Big Band. In 2016, the Fairfield Jazz Ensemble was one of three Vermont schools to be awarded a Burlington Discover Jazz Festival’s Paul Brana Memorial Fund spring workshop, presented by the outstanding clinician, Mr. Bear Irwin. And, for the past 17 years, Fairfield’s instrumental music students have joined forces with St. Albans City and Town Schools to create the Greater Saint Albans Middle School Band, performing in New York City or Washington, D.C. bi-annually.
Ms. Scott, a 2013 GRAMMY Music Teacher Award nominee, 2006 University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Science Governor’s Institute Award recipient, and a 2002 “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” inductee, is actively involved with VMEA District I activities and festivals, often managing, or co-managing the instrumental or vocal ensembles. She works closely with the Vermont Music Educators Association’s All State Music Festival and has performed for years with the “Little Big Band” at the All State Jazz Auditions, has served as the Jazz Sight reading adjudicator, and has been the Jazz Audition Coordinator and adjudicator for the past four years. At the 2015 VMEA Fall Conference, Joanne organized and developed two Jazz workshops, presenting one session, “All State Jazz Audition Prep”, that incorporated twenty musicians! Joanne also collaborates with St. Albans City and Town schools preparing for the Greater Saint Albans Middle School Band bi-annual concert and cultural tours. Ms. Scott has also served on the Vermont Association of Jazz Education board. Separately, Ms. Scott has volunteered years of negotiating teacher contracts for her school and supervisory union.
In her spare time, Ms. Scott is an active performing musician. A multi-woodwind instrumentalist who is regularly heard in a variety of settings, Joanne is a member of the Burlington Civic Symphony, the Green Mountain Mahler Festival Orchestra, the Vermont Winds, the Joe Levesque Big Band, L.C. Jazz, and is a twenty-five year, very regular sub, with the Vermont Jazz Ensemble. She has played in the Musical pits of Lyric Theater, Stowe Theater Guild, Enosburg Opera House, Milton, MVU, & Fairfax High Schools, and has performed and recorded with New York City’s North/Consonance Chamber Orchestra.