Five Minutes with Jeremy Duby, Director of Bands

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Director of bands Jeremy Duby has served The University of Olivet for five years, and under his direction, the Marching Comets have experienced tremendous growth. Professor Duby strives to build relationships with students early in the admissions process, often meeting with future Comets during their first visit to campus, welcoming them at New Student Orientation and assisting them on Move-In Day. Beyond his regular responsibilities, Professor Duby even helped organize an Out of the Darkness Campus Walk for suicide prevention at OC this spring, and continues to support students in any way he can; however, he says it is what he learns from students that makes him especially love working at The University of Olivet.

Why do you love working at OC?

I love working at Olivet because of the people. Everyone works together for the betterment of our students. This collaboration is uplifting and motivating every day. I also truly enjoy working with the students at Olivet – they are driven and hard working. They are also very perceptive and inquisitive, which leads to an interactive classroom setting. I love teaching music, and at Olivet, I also love learning from my students.

Where do your passions for music and teaching stem from?

Growing up, my mom played accordion and taught me how to read music. I had outstanding music educators in school who ultimately instilled my lifelong passion for music and music education. Mac Danforth and Doug Bianchi are the reason I do what I do today. I still lean on their influence in my everyday teaching and I often call them to collaborate.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Engaging, inclusive and reflective. I do my best to lead by example and engage the students in conversations about music. I will lead with questions to engage them in thought about their musical decisions, while also listening to their ideas and trying to work them into the general interpretation of our performances. Questions enable the students to reflect on their musical decisions and preparedness, and allow us all to let the music speak and breathe as the living art that it is. I never leave a rehearsal without thinking of my contributions and what I can do to enhance them and make the next rehearsal more productive and engaging.

What is the average day in your job, or some of the unique things you are responsible for?

As director of bands, I wear many hats. I direct the Marching Comets and the Wind Ensemble, which involves a great deal of research and study for all of the music the bands perform throughout the year. During the summer, I design and write the drills the Marching Comets perform at football games. I am also responsible for the recruiting of students to the music program as a whole. I am on the road quite a bit giving clinics and master classes to high school music programs across the state and in Canada. I also adjudicate band and orchestra festivals statewide, which brings awareness of the college to more directors. On campus, I serve on the Homecoming Committee and the Judicial Board, while also developing and hosting successful visit events such as the High School Honor Band and Day of Drumming.

Why would you encourage students to attend OC?

I encourage students to attend Olivet because it is a welcoming place that prides itself on serving the whole student. We know our students by name and work with them closely as they grow and develop in their chosen fields and as human beings! Specifically in the music program, we teach valuable life skills such as accountability, teamwork, communication, listening and critical problem solving through the medium of music. At The University of Olivet, students receive more than a degree – they become tomorrow’s leaders and the best contributors to society.

What do you look forward to in your role?

I look forward most to the growth and return of a fully vibrant band and music program. I am excited to build upon the legacy of our alumni and have The University of Olivet known for its music program worldwide, as it once was. The support we have from our community and alumni is incredible, and it is exhilarating to feel the momentum of the program’s growth. The current students share this vision and have recently written a mission statement to ensure we never move forward without reflecting on those who came before us. The future is bright and our students are strong – I’m eager to see where they take us next!

What is the number one piece of advice you share with students?

Beethoven said, “To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable.” I encourage my students to go through life intently and passionately. Have passion in all that you do and believe in that passion to drive you to success.

What is an interesting or little known fact about yourself?

I am an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. When I’m not performing and teaching music, you can likely find me in the woods or a trout stream. This is my other true passion, and my escape from the stresses of everyday life. I volunteer with various conservation groups and the DNR to clean streams and forests and build habitat. Among other projects every spring, I plant over 1,000 trees with the Ruffed Grouse Society in the thumb area.

Learn more about opportunities for aspiring musicians at The University of Olivet by scheduling a campus visit and requesting to meet with the music faculty or attending an upcoming admissions event. Contact the office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu for questions.


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