This is the first of what will be a monthly spotlight on our Fine Arts Academy teachers. Our first teacher that we will spotlight is Joel Pyron, our longest tenured faculty member!
What do you teach at the Fine Arts Academy?
Voice, piano, and guitar
How long have you been teaching at the Fine Arts Academy?
I have taught here since its inception in the early 1990s.
How many years have you been teaching?
Nearly 30 years!
Where is your hometown?
I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I lived in multiple locations growing up as my father worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and we moved with his job advancement about every 3 years.
Which college(s) did you attend? What degree(s) did you receive?
I have a Bachelor of Music Education Degree (with vocal emphasis) from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Music Degree in vocal performance from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Did you have an influential music teacher? If so, how did that teacher shape your life?
I’ve been blessed to have many outstanding music teachers. Two that stand out in my mind as exceptional are Ray Ballew and Dr. Charles Chapman. I took voice lessons privately with Mr. Ballew for about a year while finishing my undergraduate work and beginning graduate studies. I learned many things and made great strides during my studies with Mr. Ballew, however, the thing that has resonated with me most through the years was his kind and caring attitude toward his students. His servant attitude was always very evident whether it was helping with a difficult passage in an aria or serving a cup of his hot tea (something he’s renowned for amongst his students), you just knew that he cared for you as a person and had your best interest at heart. It was partly with Ray Ballew’s encouragement and recommendation that I went on to pursue graduate studies under the tutelage of Dr. Charles Chapman. Dr. Chapman influenced me in a different way. He challenged me with music literature that was far beyond what I thought I was capable of accomplishing and that was just what I needed at that time.
What made you choose music for your career?
I don’t think I chose music, I think music chose me. I started college doing pre-med studies. After my first semester, I just knew that wasn’t the right direction for me. Although my grades were good, I just did not have a passion for continuing that direction. I had enjoyed making music in high school choir and in church, so I made the decision to go that route.
What are you listening to/reading right now? Or what projects are you working on currently?
I regularly read articles on voice science/vocal pedagogy to better inform my teaching in that area. My wife accuses me of being an “information junkie” who has read the entire internet. I think she is hyperbolizing (yes, that is a real word) but I do enjoy learning and being informed.
What is something your students would be surprised to know about you?
I still enjoy watching “The Three Stooges”. The old “Bugs Bunny” is my favorite cartoon.