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Jared Cassedy

Jared Cassedy
Master of Music in Music Education Faculty

Jared L. Cassedy is the K-12 Performing Arts Coordinator for Lexington Public Schools in Lexington, Massachusetts where he oversees and supports all music and dramatic arts programming and curriculum development in collaboration with the performing arts teachers, and also conducts the LHS Wind Ensemble.  He is also the conductor of the Junior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble at New England Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory School, an adjunct faculty member teaching Conducting for students enrolled in The Longy School of Music’s in-person Masters of Music in Music Education degree program, and is one of the Artistic Directors for The Longy School of Music’s Side-by-Side Program.  Jared is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious GRAMMY Music Educator Award furnished by the GRAMMY Museum (formerly Foundation) and The Recording Academy and has most recently been named a 2022 National Music Teacher of Excellence by the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation.   He is currently the President-Elect of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association and is past-chairperson for the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Northeastern District.  Jared is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) serving on the Equity Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and the Council of Music Program Leaders.  Prior to coming to Massachusetts, was the President Elect for the New Hampshire Music Educators Association (NHMEA).

Before coming to Massachusetts, Jared was the Director of K-12 Performing Arts for the Salem School District in Salem, NH and was the Director of K-12 Fine Arts and Director of Bands at Windham High School for the Windham School District, in Windham, NH.  Through Jared’s continued collaboration with his students his ensembles have been selected to participate in a myriad of national and international festivals and performances including the National Concert Band Festival and NY Wind Band Festivals at Carnegie Hall in NYC, Festival of Gold at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, performances in Montreal and Quebec, Canada, and at the NAfME Eastern Division Conference in Hartford, CT.  Most recently his wind ensemble has performed at the Pacific Basin International Music Festival in Honolulu, Hawaii (2023) and the Washington D.C. International Music Festival at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (2024).

In 2011 the New Hampshire Band Directors Association named Jared the “Outstanding Young Band Director of the Year,” and he was nominated as New Hampshire Teacher of the Year in 2014.  Jared is a highly sought after conductor for a myriad of regional honor bands throughout New England, given a variety of lectures on leadership and best practices in teaching across the country, and has participated in TEDx talking about his journey and philosophies through education.  Most recently, Jared co-presented the session, “Fine Tuning Ensemble Culture and Why it Matters: Intentionally Creating a Positive Community through Conversation and Collaboration” at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  Jared graduated Summa cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire – Durham where he received his Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education and has a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University.  He is a member of NAfME, MMEA, NBA, and ASCD, and the prestigious Pi Lambda Theta Education Honors Society.

Teaching Statement:
It’s not just music, it’s through music.  This is the core of my teaching philosophy.  No matter if I am conducting a wind ensemble, teaching a conducting class, giving a workshop or lecture, or working as a performing arts administrator, it’s not just music.  It is through this incredible art form that we are able to connect with one another; with our own humanity.  I was recently asked by an organization, “why do you teach?” and it seems like such an easy and simple question to answer, however my response has truly evolved over time and is developed from many, many layers of my own personal “why.”

Directly stated, I teach because it is one of the best and most beautiful gifts in the world to be a part of someone’s journey; to stand alongside them as they continue to discover, create, become challenged and overcome challenges, and find their own success.  I do not teach music…I teach people using music as a vehicle to help folks reach beyond their perceived potential – and it is through this realization that when I teach, I am also a student; a learner of what it means to be a contributing human being to those around me and within the world we are living.

While I am so very grateful for the personal and professional life I have been afforded, my journey has been riddled with moments of self-doubt, insecurity, and questioning my own path forward.  My own identity as a part of the LGBTQIA+ and Asian communities has enabled me to experience such joy, but also such hatred and disempowerment – and it is through these experiences that I have developed my own lenses to support and authentically empower the students I work with.  Indeed, the mentors and teachers I have had in my life have made all of the difference by seeing my potential and recognizing my value as a human being – in turn it is my chief priority to support my students through this same example.

We live in such a rich, diverse, and robust society and as teachers, we are given the supreme power to either celebrate or marginalize our fellow people.  The resources we use, the perspectives and insights we share, the ways we welcome folks into our spaces – we must recognize how important our responsibility is to supporting the trajectory and empowerment of the students we work with.  With all of the challenges we are facing in this world being teachers and learners, in any capacity and in any vocation or lifestyle, is something that will only help us to remain tied to each other and our purpose.

Looking back at the twenty years I have invested in this profession I believe that while I have evolved greatly as a musician, an educator, an administrator, and as a learner, my core values about education remain to stand firm – at the end of the day, our students, our colleagues, our administrators, people in our community, all of us as human beings just want to feel cared for, valued, and supported.  And when these three tenets are authentically met, it lays such a strong foundation from which teaching and learning will result in the most significant and meaningful outcomes possible.

Teaching is not about “me” – it is about inspiring, motivating, and challenging the incredible individuals that I am entrusted to so they will do the same for those in their lives.  Ironically, as teachers we have much to learn, and when our minds are open to the hearts and souls of those students in front of us, it’s pretty incredible how transformational the experience is for ALL of us.