Member SpotlightJudy Moore

This month’s member spotlight is on Judy Moore. Judy has enjoyed a long career of teaching, performing, and developing curriculum, and is the founder and director of local flute choir Toot-in-Common. We sat down together over tea in Lemont recently to chat about music, teaching, and life.

Judy siblingsJudy was born in 1941 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children. Her mother, a string player from a musical family, started teaching Judy the piano when she was in 3rd grade. Judy also remembers being inspired by her Uncle Paul’s flute playing as a child. She reminisces, “one time, about the time I was in 7th grade, we went to a family reunion and he was playing the flute. My mother said ‘Judy, you should pick a musical instrument,’ and I said I wanted to play the flute because it looked so neat, what he was doing.” So Judy began taking flute lessons at school and playing in the school band. As the family got older, they moved to Mackeyville, Pennsylvania to get away from the city influence, where Judy attended Bald Eagle-Nittany High School.
Bald Eagle-Nittany HS

Music became increasingly important in Judy’s life as a teenager. She recalls going with her band director in 10th grade to a regional ensemble festival in Atlantic City, “and that’s when I found out what people played like. And I realized I was not anywhere near that level.” (She sings a few energetic notes of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony into the cafe.) Inspired, Judy began envisioning a life playing and teaching music. “I remember one day I was practicing and I said ‘Mother, I want to take up music as a career.’” Her mother was delighted, and arranged for Judy to take the bus to Williamsport for flute lessons. She also encouraged Judy to attend her alma mater, Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, to study flute performance and music education. Judy Moore.Soon after arriving, Judy heard an orchestra for the first time, and was mesmerized. Throughout her undergraduate years, she practiced the flute and piano diligently, and was given the opportunity to play as principal flute in the orchestra.

Jack and Judy Moore

Before graduating, Judy met and married Jack Moore, a chemistry major, who swept her off to Baltimore where she completed her Bachelor’s degree and earned a Master’s in Flute Performance at The Peabody Institute. While in Baltimore, Judy taught elementary general music.

By 1969, the couple had two children, Jack and Victoria, Jack and Vicand had moved to Prince George’s county, Maryland, where Jack Sr. researched and taught physical chemistry at The University of Maryland. Jack had given Judy a guitar for Christmas, and she developed a curriculum for teaching beginning guitar which she taught through the Department of Parks and Recreation in PG county. After subbing for a few years in a special education classroom, Judy taught general music and home economics at Stephen Decatur Junior High from 1977 to 1980, where she developed her techniques in classroom management. “At first I didn’t have the right whip,” she recalls, but with assistance from her colleagues, by her final year “it wasn’t such a bloodbath.” Judy joined the Prince George’s Philharmonic as principal flutist in 1979, a position she held until 1985.

In 1980, Judy accepted a position at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she remained until 2003. Eleanor Roosevelt High School. During her time there, Judy taught classes of 25 to 30 students guitar and piano. She and her predecessor, Denny Foster, further developed Denny’s curriculum which included opportunities to build skills in reading and writing music, music theory, and guitar and piano technique, along with elements of Dalcroze eurhythmics. This curriculum was published by the Prince George’s County for use in the school system. While at Roosevelt, Judy also led a flute choir, directed over 20 musicals, and helped juniors develop a portfolio for getting into college.

1984 Macintosh computer1984 brought the first Apple Macintosh and kindled Judy’s fascination with computers. “That thing just got a hold of me,” she enthuses. “I had to have one!” She recalls driving to work one morning on the Baltimore Washington Parkway, listening to the radio announcer claim that the computer was “going to change society. It was going to be a technological event such as learning to read was for our forebears. And I said, "Man, I gotta jump on that wagon.” Her interest in technology combined with her background creating curricula as she developed and taught a class in recording technology at Roosevelt High as well. “Music was being looked on as a frill,” she remembers thoughtfully, “and they wanted us to do something more practical.”

Once both children graduated from high school, Judy had only her full time teaching job, performing, and curriculum development to keep her busy. So in 1995, when a colleague left his position open in the University of Maryland’s Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program, Judy jumped at the chance for more schooling. University of Maryland

Over the next five years, she took classes in the summer, deepening her understanding of how and in what order to teach musical skills and concepts. With her dissertation, “Music Education in Prince George’s County, Maryland, from 1950-1992: An Oral History Account of Three Prominent Music Educators and Their Times,” complete, Judy received her Ph.D. in 2004, one year after retiring from school teaching. Her husband retired as well, and in 2005 they moved to State College, Pennsylvania where Judy’s mother played in the Nittany Valley Symphony.

Moore family

While the tempo may be slower, life in State College has been dynamic. Judy describes a home filled with music, as besides a piano she has a menagerie of flutes including “a contrabass, bass, three altos, two C flutes, a piccolo, and two Baroque flutes.” And as ever, her life seems to be filled with music as well. Since returning to Central PA, Judy has dived deep into the world of flute choirs, playing around the world with large groups and founding Toot-in-Common in 2006. Toot-in-Common
Along with Toot-in-Common’s weekly rehearsals and local performances, Judy has also taught private piano, guitar, and flute students, and has been active in her local chapter of the Music Teachers National Association. She has enjoyed knitting, keeping fit, golfing, and spending time with her dogs and her daughter, an artist in Bellefonte. She has suffered adversity as well, with 2010 and ‘11 bringing the loss of her husband and son, respectively.

Looking back, Judy reflects how the the breadth of her experiences has expanded her own musical and teaching skills. Teaching guitar helped her develop her aural skills while transcribing licks for students, and the approach to chords “opened up a lot of things for me, to think in units as opposed to linearly.” In her current flute teaching, she uses material and approaches from the Suzuki methods along with other, non-classical repertoire. Judy believes that, although not everyone is musically inclined, everyone should learn in the way that best fits them, by “building on their strengths” and learning music which they enjoy. “I let the students have a lot of choice,” she says, “rather than saying ‘you will learn this classical piece today.’” When looking back on her years of teaching music in public schools, Judy says, “My hope and goal was that students would embrace music as something that they would want to learn more about throughout their life, either as a listener or as a performer.” Judy herself seems to exemplify this hope. “I don’t know what I would do without music,” she says. “Do you?”

Judy in flute choir

More information about Judy’s musical career can be found here on the Toot-in-Common website.

Posted by Anne-Marie Hildebrandt on November 02, 2018