By Raleigh Norris, Anna Maria Gardiner, and Hayley Younginer
Music floats down the halls, echoing off of lockers as the beat brings the school to life. Dutch Fork is known for its band, thanks to the longstanding legacies of former directors and has high hopes with the new director added to the Silver Fox staff.
Paul Clayton, the new band director, is adjusting to Dutch Fork, just as the band students are adjusting to him.
“Having a new band teacher has taken some adjustment and patience,” senior Emmanuel Derrick said. “Mr. Clayton has a slightly different style than what we’re used to, so we just have to adapt to what he likes.”
Even though Clayton’s teaching style is different from what the students are used to, they have gained new knowledge, leading to an improvement in their performance.
“His teaching style is measure by measure and repetitive,” junior Crystal Thompson said. “Mr. Clayton has taught us to cut off to the tubas and we have gotten better at our entrances.”
Clayton said he believes in Dutch Fork’s rules of being respectful, responsible, and reputable. The “three R’s” poster was the first thing he said he caught sight of when he moved into his classroom this year, and since then, he has greatly stressed their importance.
“One of the first things I told my students was that I don’t deal well with attitude or disrespect; I want to make sure my students progress as individuals,” Clayton said. “Having integrity is something I really want my students to learn.”
The band students really understand how serious Clayton is about being respectful, and they appreciate his focus on something deeper than just learning music.
“He always stresses how important respect is,” freshman Emily Tener said. “We’ve learned a lot about discipline and doing the right thing, which not only helps in band but in all of my other classes and life in general.”
Band’s current focus in class is preparing for the Christmas concert. Getting ready for this yearly performance each class has given students a chance to get to know Clayton even better.
“He is instructive with the whole class but also helps everyone individually,” sophomore Heather Pittman said.
Even though the school year is only in its third month, the students have greatly improved since the beginning of the year.
“I have definitely seen an improvement [in my students] and to be honest, it was rough at the beginning, but since then, a lot has clicked,” Clayton said. “Now that the students trust me and know me more, we have made leaps and bounds every week and I’m very pleased with what has been started.”
One of Clayton’s goals for this year is to increase the size of the band and expand its involvement with the middle schoolers. He also hopes to help each student grow individually
“Clayton has an obvious desire of wanting his students to improve,” Emmanuel said. “We are all encouraged by how much he wants us to grow in our music capabilities.”
Clayton seems to really enjoy Dutch Fork, and the school is glad to have him join the fox family.
“This is the best school in the state,” Clayton said. “This is home.”