Potential and progress are critical, not perfection. That’s the message that Dr. Timothy S. Sexton, the Associate Director of Bands at the Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts in Florida, wants his students to embrace. “I am constantly looking for ways to show our students that I value them as people first and musicians second,” Sexton explains. “Sincere, daily conversations with our students has helped to make more meaningful connections with them. I remind our students that we never measure perfection, but rather potential and progress!”
When developing curricula, Sexton immediately begins with the end in mind, “so we address our most difficult segments of material first,” Sexton explains. “We joyfully try to cultivate deliberate practice plans, which allow our students to grow more confident when creating on their own.”
Tarpon Springs’ music program has a long history of success, but Sexton is not one to be satisfied with the school’s past accomplishments. He has set some lofty goals for himself, some of which call on performance and pedagogical skills he learned during his DCI days:
Part of achieving goal #1 of helping students be the best versions of themselves, Sexton oversees the Tri-M Music Honor Society that has approximately 40 student members. The group regularly collects donations (clothes, food and living essentials) for Pinellas HOPE, a community nonprofit, which partners with Catholic Charities to provides a variety of services and shelters for underprivileged and homeless adults and youth within Pinellas County.
Tarpon Springs’ Tri-M chapter also helps with the annual Feed the Fosters, by donating toys, coloring books, candy canes, etc. Students also help by providing meals to children and families in need during its “Breakfast with Santa” event in December.