Meet McAuliffe Instrumental Music Director – MELISSA PALMER

Melissa Palmer is the new Director of Instrumental Music for McAuliffe Middle School.  She will lead Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Bands, String Orchestra, and also teach general music classes.
Ms. Palmer comes to Los Al with a strong background in music education.  She earned her music degree and teaching credential from CSU Fullerton.   She taught for three years at Yorba Linda Middle School.  For the past 7 years, she was at Canyon High School in Santa Clarita, where she directed several performing groups:  marching band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, jazz ensemble, competitive drum line, competitive color guard, and PE color guard.  Her students participated in competitions such as the Band & Orchestra Festival and the Solo & Ensemble Festival. She was named Canyon HS Teacher of the Year for 2010-11.
She is also dedicated to excellence in music education beyond the classroom.  For three years, she was the 

manager of the Honor Jazz Band for the prestigious Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA).  She served on the SCSBOA Board for two years as Vice President of Jazz Education.  In addition, she serves as a judge for marching band and jazz band festivals.  
Her musical performance talents extend to multiple instruments:  alto sax, flute, clarinet, piccolo, and trumpet.  As a professional musician, she toured with Motown stars The Four Tops, and performed in the Disneyland Band.
She is married to professional trumpet player Kye Palmer, a former member of the Tonight Show Band.  They are the parents of a 2-year son, Clayton.  The family just recently relocated to the Los Al area.  She looks forward to meeting her new students and colleagues at McAuliffe and settling in to the Los Al community.  Eventually, she hopes to expand the instrumental music program at McAuliffe and to expose her students to competitive music festivals.
She loves teaching, saying simply, “It’s what I was born to do.  I love music and I love people.  It was natural.”  She describes that she has a playful manner and relates well to younger people.  She sees music as a way of connecting to people and educating the whole person.  As a teacher, she enjoys helping students to reach their potential.  She is especially gratified when former students, particularly the ones who presented challenges, return with a more mature perspective about the learning process. 
 “I love music, the way emotions are associated with music, and the way it brings people together.  It’s more powerful than words.  It’s a universal language.”