Joseph Girgenti


Joseph Girgenti

School & School System Where You Work

Walter Bickett Elementary School, Union County Public Schools

Number of Years Teaching


Teaching Area(s)

Band, Elementary

Grade Level


What do you love most about teaching music?

My favorite part about teaching music is building relationships with all of the students in my school and working with them to learn and make music together.

Who inspired you to be a music educator and how did they inspire you?

I have had so many music teachers and mentors along the way – Jeff Reynolds, Lisa Qualls, Frank Casstevens, Dr. Dawn Price, Dr. Cindy Wagoner, Dr. Jay Juchniewicz, and so many more! I am thankful for all of them, pushing me to become the music educator I am today.

Describe the biggest challenge to teaching music education and how you have worked to overcome this challenge?

My biggest challenge was the transition from teaching Band to Elementary Music. I am still working on overcoming it, but with every lesson plan I write, every PLC and PD I attend, it gets a little easier. And to be honest, seeing the joy it brings to my students’ faces that I am there, ready to teach them, makes all of the other things easier and more enjoyable for me.

How do you advocate for your program?

Put your program on display – in the hallways, on the intercom, posts on social media and the school website. Anything you can do to showcase what you are doing, and even more importantly, what your students are doing. Many people do not realize how important music is in the lives of our students until they see the results it has on them.

What is one piece of advice you would give to beginning teachers?

Put yourself out there! Even if that means making yourself look goofy in front of your students. Trust me- they’ll love you for it!

How do you build relationships with students and parents?

Communication is key to building relationships with your students and parents. Making the extra effort to reach out to get to know them, send words of encouragement or gratitude, or even just a quick hello, can go a long way.