Kevin Ford has two strong tenants that guide his work as the director of bands and the founder/director of the Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School in Florida. First, he assists his students, and their families in understanding the connection between the artistic and music-making processes, and growing as individuals to become service-minded and compassionate people.
Second, he encourages the art of collaboration, both through leadership and by example. By allowing and prompting his students to find answers and solutions, he encourages a process that allows for flexibility and empowerment in the music-making process. This enhances the students' experiences because they are a part of a collaborative environment, which fosters empowerment and creativity.
With empowerment comes responsibility. Ford sets high expectations for himself and his students at the Leadership Conservatory of the Arts to come to rehearsal prepared and leave with new goals, which the students set for themselves. This is a shared commitment to achieve more and be better every day. This is echoed in the way Ford utilizes mentorship in his program — experienced musicians are partnered with less experienced musicians in small ensembles, which provides student leaders the opportunity to inspire, lead and help their growing colleagues.
Ford has a great deal to offer any instrumental educator when it comes to the topic of bringing out the best in student musicians. His leadership program at Tarpon Springs High School is nationally recognized. Any program looking to extend its traditional curriculum to include a creative approach to learning, which focuses on leadership development and artistry should consider learning more about this conceptual approach through a session with Ford.
A few of Kevin Ford's session titles are:
• "TEACHING: Building a Culture of Artistic Excellence"
• "Artistry: Unlimited Possibilities"
• "Show Design Process"
• "The Importance of an Outstanding Educator"
• "New Teachers: The First 100 Days"