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The Band Director's Lounge Podcast

Welcome to the Band Director’s lounge, a podcast about what makes great instrumental music programs. I am a band director trying to build a great program by learning from others and sharing my knowledge along the way.

Jun 10, 2020

“Our job is to inspire students to love music as much as we love it.” - Robert Baca Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Welcome back to The Band Director’s Lounge!

Today I am talking with Robert “Bob” Baca. Bob teaches at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and is an active teacher and performer throughout the United States.

His performance background includes countless performances in both classical and commercial areas including the Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra as well as a past member of the popular radio ensemble for Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He has toured with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Blood Sweat and Tears and numerous others as well as performing over one hundred Broadway shows and hundreds of recording sessions in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago.   As a soloist, Robert has performed in China, London, Costa Rica and Europe as well as the United States.

Robert Baca is Professor of Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies at the all undergraduate University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  Most recently, he conducted the National High School Honors Jazz Ensemble for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) at their national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Other highlights include serving as a faculty member of Conn-Selmer Institute, conducting numerous all state ensembles and presenting at educational conventions. He received the first, “Career Excellence in Teaching Award” presented by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was runner up for the "Teacher Of The Year", UW-System Award.  Mr. Baca is a past executive board member for the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) as the United States Representative. 

Mr. Baca loves to help students of any age reach their whole potential.

He has been happily married to his wife Jodie for over 30 years and has two children, Alec and Nicole and a dog named Chewy.

Episode Overview

  • Background (01:57)
  • A supportive spouse, “You really need to do this” (20:57)
  • Inspiring students to love music as much as we love it and removing limitations (26:00)
  • Eau Claire Jazz Festival, Being a “Kingmaker” not a “King” and Student Leadership (45:40)
  • Being an active performer and educator (70:35)
  • A career-ending diagnosis (87:14)
  • How to bring out a guest artist to your school? (101:20)
  • Books that have impacted teaching and musicianship (110:00)
  • Advice for young directors (116:35) 
  • What makes a great band program? (120:50)

And that wraps up today’s episode.

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Thanks again for tuning in, I will see you back here next time in The Band Director’s Lounge.

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