Phill Harris

Phill Harris

Music & Band, Grades 3 – 8

“I believe in both teaching and performing,” says Music and Band teacher Phill Harris, describing his twin passions. Mr. Harris, who teaches Music and Band to Grades 3-6, has loved music for as long as he can remember. Being a devoted performer gives him insight into the challenges and learning opportunities his students encounter. Describing the neurological benefits of studying music, he says, “Band makes you smarter. You have to learn, and grow, your own music and bring it to life while listening to others and watching the conductor. It’s a brain trainer, and also a team effort.”

Most of all, for Mr. Harris, music has always been a joy. He earned a BA of Arts and Music and an MA in Jazz Pedagogy from George Mason University, but well before his formal training, he was immersed in music within his family, which includes singers, instrumentalists, music engineers, and choir performers and teachers. He learned to work with the whole person, his and that of others, honing everything from breath control and variations in the maturing voice to interpersonal relationships. In sixth grade, he started playing trombone, and by the time he was in high school, he was helping classmates, younger cousins, and later, colleagues, improve their musical performance and enjoyment. “I realized I made a difference. I had a part in their lives,” he says, describing the inspiration that brought.

Mr. Harris has taught music at seven schools in the Northern Virginia and D.C. area and performed with the Duke Ellington Show Choir for several years. He is a Church Musician and Pianist at Grace Covenant Church in Sterling, VA, and is a Jazz and Gospel recording artist and producer with facility playing five instruments: piano, trombone, drums, the organ, and voice.

When he is not involved with music in its many forms, Mr. Harris enjoys playing card games, watching sports, and spending time with family.

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