Jenn Bock is never satisfied with the status quo — she always looks to improve her program and isn’t afraid to think outside the box and push boundaries. When she moved to Highland High School, the color guard consisted of just nine students. So Bock recruited junior high students to join the winter guard. “The excitement spread, and our winter program had two guard teams with 35 members in 2019,” Bock said.
Another area that needed updating was the movement program for the marching band. “I try to surround myself with people who are smarter than me in areas where I’m lacking,” Bock said. “I never marched drum corps or even college marching band, so when it was time to modernize the movement program, I hired people who I felt had the knowledge and skills to take us there.” She credits the marching staff for teaching the new marching and dance program to the students — which was done virtually during the pandemic.
When in-person school shut down in the spring of 2020, Bock went into overdrive and coordinated with the booster organization to sew instrumental music masks for the entire 150-student marching band. This effort enabled Highland to have summer rehearsals that followed social-distancing guidelines. According to one of her “40 Under 40” nomination letters, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jenn has been relentless in her pursuit of making this a meaningful year for her students.”
Bock has held multiple positions on the boards of music education organizations and is a strong role model for all music directors, but especially for young women who are considering a career in music education. Her message to them is straightforward: “Work hard and have confidence in the work you’re doing. Believe that you’re good enough to be there and then make it so.”
Read about how Bock gradually shifted the culture of Highland’s band.