Profiles in Harmony: Jesse Schiffman

Jesse is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he earned his Master’s in Flute Performance. As a student at Juilliard, Jesse received the Gluck Community Service Fellowship and provided flute instruction to New York City public school students at P.S. 7 in East Harlem. In 2009 and 2010, he took part in an exchange program to work with the El Sistema-inspired “Neojba” program in Salvador, Brazil. Jesse joined us this fall, and he’ll begin teaching at the new Harmony Program site at P.S. 107 in the Bronx later this month.

How and when did you start playing music?

I began playing the flute in 4th grade through my school’s band program. I chose the flute because my mother had played the flute so we already had an instrument.

Can you tell us something about your favorite teachers?

My favorite teacher is Sarah Tuck, from the San Diego Symphony; she was my teacher during high school. Sarah was a wonderful teacher because she taught the technical aspects of playing the flute through musicality. For example, one day Sarah sent me home with Schubert’s “Die Schone Mullerin” and a recording of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and told me to practice the songs and study the recording, and come back next week sounding like Mr. Fischer-Dieskau. Through teaching me how to play the songs musically, as though I was singing them, Sarah was teaching me tone and sound technique.

What do you hope to learn from your experience as a Harmony teacher?

“I hope to inspire my students to be better people, people who feel important in the world, and people who feel as though they have something unique and important to contribute to and share with others.”

The student/teacher relationship can be a very reciprocal one. I hope to learn how to effectively translate my thoughts and ideas to students. I hope to inspire my students to be better people, people who feel important in the world, and people who feel as though they have something unique and important to contribute to and share with others.

If you could do anything besides play music, what would it be?

If I could do anything besides music I would be a writer or literature teacher. Or maybe an astronaut.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

My advice to any student is to have ridiculously high aspirations and never give up. Everyone goes through difficult times where they doubt themselves. Don’t dwell on errors; learn from them and know that failure is part of success.

 

Thanks, Jesse!

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