RHS teacher and music enthusiast Austin Michael has been passionate about music all his life, but it’s his time and effort in the band program as well as other music classes that makes the real impact on his students.

                                                                                                                                 -Brodie Bucher


When did you first get into music and what do you enjoy about it? 

I’ve been playing since I can remember. I didn’t start taking lessons until I was in about fourth grade playing the clarinet and piano. I did not start in my main instrument (percussion) until I got into high school and college. 


Do you have a personal favorite instrument you like to play?

My favorite instrument is the marimba! It is such a versatile instrument. I love playing transcriptions for classical music on the marimba- especially Bach and other baroque music. 


How has your first year of teaching at RHS been? 

There have been a lot of ups and downs with working at RHS. Obviously there is an uphill battle anytime you are building and program and make changes from the norms. I’m glad to say that it has been way more positive than negative which makes me very optimistic for the future of the music program.


What influenced you to take on teaching guitar, jazz band and band?

Besides having a fulltime job with benefits, I was really influenced by my experience in high school. I was the biggest band nerd in school and it quickly became something that I couldn’t function without. I know it is the same for many of my current students and I want to create that positive space for them to express themselves. For some, this is the only time they get to come out of their shell and express themselves.


How many of your own hours do you spend with these students?      

I’ve been working with different band programs in the Sacramento area for the past six years, so I was fully aware of the amount of personal time it would take to build a music program. In the fall, we have our Tuesday-Thursday night rehearsals along with a few Saturday rehearsals. During our competitive season, we travel throughout Northern California to compete against other high school marching bands. There’s days we will rehearse in the morning, compete in the afternoon, and receive awards at night. We typically won’t be finished until midnight. I try to keep work life and home life separate so I will typically stay at school to prepare for the next day and get work done for any future events like competitions, booster meetings and fundraisers. I also have many students that like to practice after school and don’t have a place to go between school and rehearsal, so students can come in and get work done. 


What motivates you to spend so much of your time with them?

Band was always my home away from home in school so I will always strive to create that environment for my students. [Also] that feeling you get when you accomplish something huge. It feels amazing and I get to inspire kids to be and do better. 


What makes you passionate about music and teaching the  students?

Music is something that has been in my life since I was a child. My family is very musical so I was immersed in a lot of different styles of music and instruments which created that passion to create and perform. I get to do what I love as a job and that’s what keeps me going.