The Student News Site of Parkway North High School


The Student News Site of Parkway North High School


The Student News Site of Parkway North High School


New Orchestra teacher joins Parkway North staff

Adam Wheeler leads Concert Orchestra 1 students while they practice on Sept 19. Wheeler started working at Parkway North this year after Ken Rapini retired from teaching.

After teaching elementary school students at Mackenzie, Claymont, and Parkway Elementary for 15 years, Adam Wheeler, has joined the ranks of our PNH staff as the new orchestra teacher.

“I left my last school because I had been doing the same thing for nine years. I wanted something different and I wanted to work with some kids over a longer period of time,” Wheeler said. 

Music classes at the elementary school meet only 60 minutes per week while they meet 3+ hours per week at the high school level. 

Wheeler also divides his time between teaching at North High where he teaches three classes: Concert Orchestra 1, Concert Orchestra 2, and Symphonic Orchestra, and Bellerive Elementary where he teaches music. This further allows him to see growth in his students.

“At this position, I see kids in third, fourth and fifth grade. And then I also see them in ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grade. Some of the same kids I start, I’ll see at the high school level,” Wheeler said.

The high school schedule also allows him to assign more regular playing tests to see how experienced each student is and help them discover their strengths and weaknesses.. 

“With those tests, he offers more specific feedback to each student on areas of improvement, so even if you do really well on a playing test, he’ll still have some constructive criticism,” said junior Alex Beck, who plays the Cello in Symphonic Orchestra.

 Teaching high school students compared to teaching elementary students is also different because while elementary students don’t know how to play the instruments, the high schoolers do, so there is more focus on improvement and building a relationship than just learning the basics. 

“I’d say [Wheeler] is laid back. He is flexible. He is patient,” Beck said.

Wheeler also has other music teachers at the high school he can go to for ideas.

“When I go to the elementary school, there’s only one other music teacher but here I have two band teachers and a choir teacher,” Wheeler said. 

A fairly large obstacle that Wheeler has had to face in his first year teaching here is that the number of students who take orchestra is small. 

“We literally lost three quarters of our orchestra from seniors graduating, so the size is significantly reduced,” Beck said. “He’s trying to focus on this new smaller group, adapting to this school, trying to learn from mistakes.”

With the entry of a new orchestra teacher, some changes may be coming to the orchestra program, but Wheeler doesn’t want to change what is already working.  

“I am not planning on changing a lot that was done in the past this year because I just kind of getting a feel for the school and students. I want to just get the most out of students and do those performances,” Wheeler said. “It would be nice to get the group out into the community more or maybe even a trip or two: Somewhere where the kids get to experience playing for people in their community or outside of the school setting.” 

The orchestra will be performing its first concert on Nov. 12 with other performances in February and May.

“It’s the first performance I’ve had at North, so I want to work out all the details to make it an enjoyable experience for the kids, parents and anybody else that comes to watch it,” Wheeler said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
My name is Colin. I am a high school junior. I love video games and love listening to music! My obscure hobby is woodworking and I love being outside.

Comments (0)

All Norsestar Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *