Roots and Blooms—Gifts to Share

Don’t forget your roots,” says Fritz Siler in a recent Georgia Music Educators Newspiece titled “Pruning Roses.”

The people who helped you get where you are today can be compared to gardeners whose efforts in pruning and shaping their students produced today’s flowers. In South Georgia, Jesse Walker and Gene Wyles were two of Siler’s most memorable “band pruners.”

Siler encourages all teachers to “Think of all the wonderful gardeners who have touched your lives over the years and gave you understanding so you could share it with others. Write their names down. Contact them if you can. Let us not forget our roots.”

“You can also help make today’s teachers better ‘gardeners,’ ” says Siler. He suggests:

“Consider getting out your sharpened shears, your knowing ears, and lend a hand. There is much work yet to be done. … Sometimes just a simple conversation with the gardener can be so beneficial.”

If you’re a veteran or retired music teacher, you can make a huge difference in the life of a struggling or beginning educator. You can help one or more of these new teachers “reach their full potential of beauty and bloom,” and they, in turn, can help students grow musically.

In this season of giving, take a look at what you might be able to offer others.

Retired NAfME member Fritz Siler is a 30-year veteran band director and private instructor who now plays in several bands in the Greater Atlanta area and conducts the Sandy Springs New Horizons Band. He is the Georgia Music Educators Association Retirement Chair and the coordinator of the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators New Jazz Music Reading Band for the yearly convention held in Savannah.

This piece is adapted with permission of editor Mary Leglar from “Pruning Roses,” the Retired Members column by Fritz Siler in the Fall 2011 Georgia Music Educators News, Vol. 72, no. 1, p. 9.

Ella Wilcox, December 1, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (