Jack Taylor: The man who rebuilt UF’s band

By Hannah Dunbar

@hanndunbar

Jack Taylor, professor of music and band director, has made significant changes to the bands since he started at the University of Findlay in 1980.

The West Chester University and Yale University graduate has experience as a professional player, touring and recording artist and has been teaching music for 37 years.

“I knew I was going to be a teacher by third grade and never looked back,” said Taylor. “I have been taught to play all instruments so I can teach them but my specialties are saxophone, clarinet, flute and piano.”

Taylor’s knowledge and background in music gives him an advantage when teaching said Katie Mehlow, senior band member and animal science/pre-vet and biology major.

“Mr. Taylor is a musician and it shows in his teaching. Being a professional musician most of his life, he fills rehearsals with stories and advice on how to improve ourselves as musicians,” said Mehlow.

In 1980, the University of Findlay had eliminated the music major and there were only seven students enrolled in concert band.

Thanks to Taylor, majoring in music is now offered to students and the band has outgrown all of its venues on campus.

According to UF’s website, the music program has several instrumental music programs including marching band, concert band, jazz ensemble and orchestra.

Ron Cable, retired assistant band director and UF alumni, said Taylor ensures the band members are a family.

“Jack Taylor emphasizes family,” said Cable. “You can’t be successful in groups without becoming a family. You care about one another.”

Cable is not the only person who agrees with Taylor’s importance of family in the band.

“Mr. Taylor knows his students. He emphasizes the concept of family, so his teaching style revolves around that,” said Mehlow.

According to Taylor, the band has been built into a quality and respected program at the University of Findlay.

“We reformed and strengthened the band and are now respected statewide,” said Taylor. “Each year we take students to participate in the All-State Bands of Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association.”

Taylor said he wants students who aren’t involved in band to know they try to make band fun for the students.

“My philosophy for music is that if it isn’t fun, it’s not worth the time,” said Taylor. “All of my players are majoring in other areas. They don’t have to be in band, but my goal is to make them want to be in band.”

Taylor’s philosophy seems to be working because the band will be recognizing 20 senior members at the April concert this year, according to Taylor.

Cable said the growth of the band is not the only improvement the program has made. Having graduated in 1964 from the University of Findlay, Cable said when he played in the band it consisted of woodwinds and brass.

“Since Taylor and I started working together in 1997, Taylor changed the band to all brass,” said Cable.

According to Cable, an all-brass band is necessary in order to generate more sound to the audience.

Despite the success of the band throughout the years, Taylor has remained loyal.

“He was always patient and we learned a lot from one another and became good friends,” said Cable.

“At first the mustache might be intimidating, but that goes away the second he smiles and talks to you,” said Mehlow. “Music plays a huge part in my life and he has provided an incredible amount of encouragement and confidence in me as a musician and I will never be able to thank him enough.”

What does Taylor have in store for the future of the bands at UF?

“I hope to continue to improve the quality of playing,” said Taylor. “I’d like to reinstitute plans to travel with the bands and have the opportunity to perform for alumni around the country.”

Taylor has made countless achievements in the 35 years he has worked at UF and will continue to achieve more in years to come as he continues to put others first.

“He definitely lives to teach and he lives for his students,” said Mehlow.

 

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