Music for the children

Music man Steve Moore is a new teacher at the Friday Harbor Elementary School this year and his class room reverberates with sounds of excitement.

“This is my joy,” Moore said of both music and working with children.

This is not his first time living in the San Juan Islands, in fact his three daughters attended Friday Harbor High School. Moore’s eldest daughter graduated from FHHS in 1987. The family moved to California after her graduation, because, Moore said, he believed there were more career opportunities for them there. Moore worked many years as both a pastor and youth pastor on San Juan. He felt like he could be more useful to the church off island. Last year, the Moore family decided to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary by visiting the islands. While playing his banjo on the porch of the bed and breakfast, his wife excitedly pointed out the music teacher opening, so he applied. At the same time, a church in Japan he had previously been a pastor at, was also begging him to return. Moore was offered a position as music teacher almost immediately after his interview with the Friday Harbor Elementary school, and chose that job over returning to Japan after he was able to secure housing in Friday Harbor.

“It [moving back to the islands] just felt right,” said Moore.

It has not taken the couple long to get back into island life, he and his wife are loving their new community.

His passion for music began as a child, with Moore’s dad played the harmonica, and his mother sang in their church choir. There was always music playing in their house, according to Moore, who views music as a universal language.

“There is almost no one who doesn’t love music,” he said.

While Moore appreciates almost all kinds of music, he is particularly drawn to folk music, or as he calls it “the music of the people. Amongst the many instruments in his class room, there are also records, including several folk music albums, one of which he and some students he taught in the seventies, recorded.

Many of Moore’s current class at Friday Harbor Elementary, were somewhat familiar with records but some were not, and all were fascinated with the old technology. Moore also has a tape deck and tapes, big speakers set up high, so that during his classes listening time the students can be totally absorbed in the music.

Moore has five classes a day, three days a week. He said he plans on starting the kindergarteners off simply getting use to music, and getting more complicated through the grades, until his fifth grade class where he will be teaching the recorder, which is a vertical flute like instrument.

Working with young children, Moore said, is fun because the world is still so fresh to them, and they still look up to adults. He has taught high school students as well, and enjoys the older children also because Moore said, it is so amazing to see their potential.

While he may be in his early 70’s, Moore is full of energy with no plans on slowing down, especially since teaching and music are his passion.

“I will work,” he said “until I can’t anymore.”