There is a genuine thing that happens between a child and what they're learning. Lower School Music Teacher Tricia Delony
A typical music class with Lower School music teacher Tricia Delony is anything but typical. On any given day, students may spend a portion of the time lying on the floor listening to melodies and rhythms or they may rattle instruments and dance to their own beats. The fluidity and creativity of learning inspire Delony, and it is obvious that she loves teaching and the process of helping children become enlightened. The “aha” or light bulb moment that a child experiences when they suddenly understand a new concept has made 39 years in the classroom a rewarding experience. Now, after nearly four decades, she will retire once the last bell rings this year.
"Good music is good music regardless of the genre."
While music teachers are often typecast as someone who strictly enjoys the classics, this is not the case with Delony. For her, music is a way to explore and experience the world and its variety. Throughout her career, she has sought to impart that sense of wonder to her students. She has fond memories of playing a range of selections for middle school students at her previous school, calling the lesson “drop the needle.” Each class period, Delony would select two widely varying works and play them for the teens. To her delight, the students enjoyed the experience and began looking forward to what she would play next. It was a way for them to learn to interpret music, and it helped them realize the connections that exist between current hits and timeless classics.
Delony is an innovator in the classroom, and she says she enjoys finding new ways to engage students. As a public school music teacher, her classroom was once visited by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who declared that the students in Delony’s room were the brain trust of future thinking. At Episcopal, Delony introduced countless students to folk dance, and she worked with a group of fifth graders to establish the traditional Episcopal fifth grade STOMP. She even found a way to continue STOMP during last year’s distance learning. “I can pivot on a dime if I need to,” she says. “My favorite lessons are when we go on a tangent based on questions of the kids.”
"I like to reinvent myself."
Teaching music is certainly an ideal fit for Delony, but as someone who loves to reinvent herself, it wasn’t her first classroom assignment. Growing up, she struggled to read due to a learning disability, and she remembers the difficulties and frustration she felt. The experience inspired her to become a special education teacher to help others in a similar situation. Delony loved the job and loved the children, and she continued the work for 16 years. In that time, she was assigned to multiple schools each year allowing her the opportunity to work with a range of students and faculty.
“I love collaborating,” says Delony, who says her favorite aspect of music is ensemble work. After years as a special education teacher, she discovered a new avenue for that as a music educator. She loves fine-tuning the efforts of students, and her talents have been on display in a variety of Episcopal performing arts productions. She worked with students in “Little Mermaid Junior” and “Jungle Book Junior.” She also used her knack for collaboration to support an anatomy lesson in the QUEST Center.
Retirement for Delony is sure to be full of activity as she says she likes to have projects. She enjoys sewing and making things. In fact, she says she’d love to work in the theater shop with Technical and Lighting Director Louis Gagliano. When she’s not tinkering, Delony hopes to spend extra time with her artistic family, likely catching games at national baseball parks which has become a summer hobby for Delony and her husband, Willis. The two have been married 43 years. They met at LSU while she earned a teaching degree and he studied to become the professional piano player that he is today. The two have raised a musician, a painter and a dancer. They also have four grandchildren.
After decades of helping students discover, Delony looks forward to the discoveries that await her in this new adventure. We thank her for sharing the wonder of music with Episcopal students, and we look forward to seeing what comes next. Join us in wishing her well.