Anne Dolce, Panama Central School music teacher, has spent many years teaching children the ins-and-outs of music, all while raising a family and being an active community member in Chautauqua County. Recently, Dolce gave The Post-Journal insight into her life, love of music, hobbies and her profession for this week's edition of Educational Excellence.
She has taught music for 30 years, and spent the first five years teaching band in Prince George's County, Maryland and Fairfax County Virginia. In 1992, she accepted a position at Panama Central School where she currently teaches instrumental music for grades five through 12.
Local educator and city council member Tony Dolce is her husband, and they have two children, Amelia and Christian. Amelia is currently a senior at Jamestown High School, and plays the cello and French horn. She will be attending college in the fall and will major in music therapy. Christian is a sophomore at JHS, plays the trombone and is a very active member of the cross country team and Baseball team.
Dolce is currently the assistant director of music ministries, the director of the Festival Hand Bell Choir and the Instrumental Music Director at Holy Apostles Parish. She is also an active member of Panama Central School's Health and Safety Committee, and serves as a member for the Metro Board of Directors for the YMCA. She regularly performs with the Harmonic Brass Quintet, the Chautauqua Concert Band and The Living Christmas Tree as a French horn player. She has also participated for several years in the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet's yearly production of "The Nutcracker."
Dolce also enjoys participating in and training for triathlons, and has qualified for the USA Triathlon National Age-Group Championships in the past two years. She completed the event in Milwaukee, Wis., in August 2015.
In her own words, she explained what exactly got her in to teaching, why she loves music and what makes it challenging or rewarding.
What makes teaching students music so interesting? Do you have a particular story you'd like to share?
DOLCE: My job is unique in that I teach students in grades five through 12. I begin the fifth-graders in September of their fifth-grade year. However I meet with these students and give them a "hands-on" experience to try out instruments in June of their fourth grade year. It's so rewarding to see the students grow and improve through the course of the eight years that they are in the band program. Where many band directors in other districts may only see their students for four years or less, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach my students from beginners through college ready.
What got you interested in music?
DOLCE: I grew up in a very musical family. My father, Bill Chandler, is the Director of Music Ministries at Holy Apostles Parish where he has been since I was in first grade (1972); I have always played a very active role in the music ministry at our church. I began taking French horn lessons from Bill Knight when I was in seventh grade, and participated in concert band and orchestra throughout junior high and high school at Washington Middle School and Jamestown High School. I am very fortunate to have had some amazing and talented music teachers in my life who inspired me to become the teacher and musician that I am today.
Have you always wanted to be a teacher? When and how did you discover you wanted to be a teacher?
DOLCE: I went to college to major in music because of my love for music and playing French horn. It wasn't until college that I had my first experience teaching. Although it was nerve racking at first, I soon began to see the positive connections that I was able to make with the students, which is all it took to ignite my passion for teaching! I sincerely love my job and couldn't imagine doing anything else. It's a very rewarding career to work with the students in my program and watch them develop and progress through the years.
Is there anything about teaching that is especially
difficult or especially
DOLCE: We have become an 'instant gratification" society through the use of technology ie. iPhones, iPads, etc. Students tend to "click out" when things get challenging and boring. They like to move on and try something different! Teaching students to master the art of playing an instrument is highly "process-oriented" and very seldom do we get 'instant gratification" through this learning process. I work hard to instill in my students that success (or gratification) in learning how to play an instrument comes over a period of time and with a lot of hard work; when you reach success or mastery, the gratification for obtaining your goal is so exciting and rewarding!