An Interview with Rodney Page
December 9, 2014
By: Jonathan Glawe
Glawe: Hello Rodney! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Over the past several years, I have heard many wonderful things about who you are, and what you bring to your career as a music enthusiast from many genres. We are lucky to have you in Michigan!
Page: Thank you for your kind words Jonathan! It is my pleasure. I have been lucky enough to have many inspiring music educators in my life that have guided me throughout my career.
Glawe: Tell me a little bit about your musical experiences growing up in Michigan. What was music like in the Page household? Also, when did you first pick up the violin?
Page: Great question. I am originally from Southfield, Michigan and I began playing the violin in 1987 when I was in 5th grade. My parents actually weren’t musicians. I would occasionally sing solos in church prior to me playing the violin. My mother encouraged me to begin a musical instrument when I was in 5th Grade and I am glad that she did. My younger brother Reggie Page actually is probably one of largest influences. He is a phenomenal jazz musician (saxophone and piano) and always challenged me, the older brother, to be my best. Both me and my brother enjoyed practicing and trying to better ourselves musically. Practicing was actually fun for us and we really enjoyed doing it.
Glawe: Tell me about your earliest experiences sitting in an orchestra. What (or who) was it that led you to passionately pursue the violin beyond high school?
Page: My earliest days in orchestra began in 6th Grade at Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan. Stephanie Zerby was my orchestra director and she made orchestra fun and exciting! I actually preferred (and still prefer) playing in orchestra as opposed to playing solos. In high school, Benjamin McKnight and James Scheckler were excellent music educators and encouraged me to make music my career. I also had the pleasure of performing as a second violinist in the Detroit Metropolitan Youth Symphony under the direction of Alan McNair. He was very intense but I learned so much from him as a conductor and music educator.
Glawe: How did you begin your teaching career? Where was it, and how long did you do it?
Page: My teaching career began in East Lansing, MI as the 5th/6th grade strings teacher for the district. I loved my job and worked there from 2000-2002. Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, I was laid off in June of 2002. In August of 2002 I began as one of two string teachers in the St. Johns Public School district. I worked there from 2002 until June of 2009.
Glawe: What went into your decision to leave the teaching career in the official capacity and pursue your DJ work for a time?
Page: I actually left teaching to become a stay at home father. I began DJaying 10 years ago simply to raise money for the music department in St. Johns, Michigan. I sort of fell into DJaying because I had no intentions of DJaying as much as I have. It started with Sweet 16 parties and then moved on to weddings. I don’t DJ as much now as I did years ago but it is still a really fun hobby!
Glawe: You have an upcoming clinic at the Michigan Music Conference. Tell us about what we can expect at the clinic from you.
Page: Yes, I am doing my first presentation ever at the Michigan Music Conference. The session is entitled “From Bach to Hip Hop”. I will discuss how you can use elements of hip hop in the strings classroom. I also plan to cover some of the challenges of introducing hip hop in the classroom and provide solutions that are accessible to everyone. If time allows, I plan to give a short hip hop demonstration myself.
Glawe: To wrap things up for us, tell us a little bit about what you are able to provide to the Michigan music scene. What would be a reason for a Michigan orchestra director to bring you in their classroom?
Page: A Michigan Orchestra Director would want to bring me to their classroom because I inspire students to be their best musically by challenging them. I encourage students to be creative thinkers and to learn to work together towards a common goal. I have almost 20 years of experience in music education in Michigan and I believe I can be an asset to any orchestral ensemble.
Glawe: Thank you for your time, Rodney! I will continue to encourage my colleagues to take advantage of what you can provide. How can we get in touch with you? What is your website?