Band director marches in with new ideas


Alexis Rosko, Contributing Writer

Solon High School (SHS) has a new band director, Mark Mauldin, who was previously the Assistant Band Director at SHS.

Mauldin has been teaching music for many years and he discovered his love for music at a young age.

“I went to church a lot and I saw how music was really a big part of the church service, and how it made it not boring…” Band Director Mark Mauldin said. “The music made it exciting for me.”

As a result, Mauldin said he took every opportunity he could to make and learn music.

“I started taking lessons, I joined an all-city choir, I joined the church choir, and then when I was older, probably sixth grade, I started playing band instruments,” Mauldin said.

Additionally, Mauldin said when he started taking lessons his goal was to become a professional musician. Although Mauldin is the band director, he continues to pursue professional music as well on his primary instrument the trombone.

“I’m a member of the Cleveland Musicians Union,” Mauldin said. “…I’ll play musicals when they come through town. I play in several bands, jazz bands, orchestras. Just local organizations.”

Because Mauldin’s original plan was to play professionally, he did not realize that he wanted to teach until he was a teenager.

“When I started helping out in Sunday school and regular school with the younger kids, I started realizing that I had a good handle on teaching,” Mauldin said. “I could reach younger people really easily.”

Mauldin went on to teach at many places including Woodridge, Hudson, Rocky River, East Cleveland and Howard University before moving to Solon five years ago. Mauldin said he knew his family would like living in Solon.

“I had no doubts that we would live in Solon, and I was going to be teaching in Solon,” Mauldin said. “It’s one of the best. It’s a very unique and outstanding school system…One of the things that makes Solon so unique is its diversity… There’s so much diversity and it’s not just about the color of people’s skin”

As for SHS, Mauldin said he wants his students to feel a personal connection to the band.

“I think the biggest change that I wanted [the band members] to be able to feel was I want them to have a more personal ownership in the band,” Mauldin said. “…This is their band. I’m just their director… It’s their experience and I want them to feel like they’re a part of the whole big thing, but the little part that they might play is just as important as anybody else’s part”

Both Jessie Kasper, band member and SHS senior, and Isaac Mauldin, SHS senior, Band President and son of Mark Mauldin, said they think there is been a positive change in the band’s attitude this year largely due to the difference in the style of leadership from the previous band director to Mark Mauldin.

“Since it is slightly less strict, I think we’re having more fun with it now,” Kasper said. “We try and cheer on the football team now, and we try to get into it more. We’re trying to have more school spirit.”

Also, Mark Mauldin said he wants the band to be more precise like a college band. While they have only taken small steps to achieve this goal so far, band members can already see this difference.

“Under the new direction, I think we’ve switched to more of a college-style band than a regular high school band,” Isaac Mauldin said. “…We have a step-touch in the middle of the field. You won’t see any other high school band doing that.”

While Mark Mauldin knows that it will be difficult to get the band to a college level, he believes it is possible.

“A little bit at a time I want the band to be tighter… so maybe in two or three years people look at Solon’s band like ‘I can’t believe those kids can do that…’” Mark Mauldin said. “It’s hard for high school but it’s not impossible.”