Inspired by his own high school band director, Larry Gookin's primary focus when conducting wind bands of any level is for the performers to "say something."
Mere perfection of the technical aspects of performance is simply not enough — the musicians must make a personal connection to the music, which results in an expressive, musical presentation. Only then will the ensemble members truly experience the performance as opposed to presenting the performance. Audience members are greatly impacted by this experience, as well.
Gookin has more than four decades of educational experience and is a distinguished professor and emeritus professor of music at Central Washington University. His open and inviting podium style puts his players at ease from the very first note. His teaching philosophy is based on the premise that educators teach people, not just music. He works to help players discover the emotional content within the music, then uses that discovery as the impetus for them to interject their own emotions into the performance. This instills empowered, expression-filled musical decision-making.
Whether conducting an honor band or working in residence with a school band program, Gookin's teaching style promotes honest exchanges with both students and educators alike. He also enjoys working in-depth with young music educators as they strive to discover who they are as directors and what their ultimate purpose is in teaching.
Some of Larry Gookin's session titles are:
- "The Art of Musical Conducting"
- "Performance Anxiety and Stage Fright"
- "Music Advocacy"
- "Wind Band Intonation – Yamaha Harmony Director"
- "Emotion and Meaning in Music"
- "Podium Personality and Communication"
- "Band Director Burnout"