By: Andrea Rosa
In August, Jenks High School welcomed Dr. Noam Faingold as the newest addition to the music department staff. Faingold filled the role of high school orchestra director after Carol Lehman occupied the role for nearly 20 years.
Faingold brings a new, creative approach to directing orchestra that students have not seen in years past. His extensive background in composition and music theory gives his teaching a nuanced feel. Dan Hale, a current member of the orchestra staff who founded the program in 1990, has become more and more familiar with his new colleague as Faingold’s first year at Jenks goes by.
“He brings us something that we haven’t had before. He’s actually a composer, and he is able to take on some really hard music… and arrange it so that high school students can tackle it more efficiently,” says Hale.
Beginning at the University of Tulsa for his undergraduate degree, Faingold studied music composition before continuing his education for a Master’s from New York University and a Doctorate from King’s College London. Faingold simultaneously played and studied bass during his academic career, and attended the Bowdoin International Music festivals during his summers. The director hopes to implement his holistic approach to teaching in the Jenks orchestra program.
“I’m coming into this [job] with a musical creativity vantage point, but also using [an approach] of using all your musical skills together at once,” Faingold reports. He aims to blend the importance of expression and good technique in the classroom, much like how he treated his former teaching roles.
“[Before coming to Jenks High School] I ran an after-school college preparatory music program called the Barthelmes Music Conservatory. I also taught at TU, TCC, and NSU,” says Faingold. His extensive experience in building musicianship in his students was one factor that made Faingold a fantastic candidate for the seat at Jenks.
Hale was originally worried this summer, wondering who would step in to take Ms. Lehman’s place, but Faingold’s warm personality and qualifications narrowed the new teacher down as a remarkable fit for the job.
“[Ms. Lehman] had established herself as the high school director, and she has done an incredible job… so we knew we couldn’t have a brand new teacher step in. Dr. Faingold is very knowledgeable… and knows how to talk to students,” Hale describes, “[kids just] want someone who cares about them, especially seniors. Dr. Faingold has shown that he does care.”
Students who grew accustomed to having the same, familiar instructor during all of high school suddenly needed to acclimate to the company of a new teacher. We spoke to section-leader Athan Lau to further understand the perspective of a Jenks orchestra player.
“I do appreciate his dedication to making us improve. I think that’s admirable. He really is doing his best to [organize everything] in the new environment,” says Lau. “Faingold gives more freedom to the front stands to lead [the class] than we had last year.”
During class, Faingold works on connecting what he hears his students play to the sound he envisions in his head. The director trains his students to support each other, build a community, and analyze the meaning behind the music.
“I always feel a need to make every minute count in the classroom,” describes Faingold. “Class is always about immediate improvement and skillset building– I’ve had students accomplish some really incredible things.”
Jenks High School kindly welcomes Dr. Faingold to the music department staff, and orchestra students look forward to learning new things from their knowledgeable director.