Trevor Galligan offers new look for LHS music

Trevor Galligan offers fresh perspective for LHS music
Posted on 01/03/2019

Trevor Galligan was asked to pitch new classes to replace courses with low registration numbers. Those pitches have turned into courses, one of which is one of the most popular new classes at LHS.

Galligan, who is in his first year at Lynden, now teaches a wide range of courses, everything from the tried and true freshman band, wind ensemble band and spirit band, but has added music theory and the much-loved digital music production course, which saw 90 students sign up before the class was ever taught. Galligan is teaching one section of digital music production this semester and will teach two more next semester.

“One of the bigger draws is not only do the students get to create stuff themselves,” he says, “but they learn how the big-name artists are making what they are making. It takes away the mystery of what they are hearing on the radio and makes it more black and white. They can listen to a song and understand how it was made.” Plus, for those potentially interested in a career in the music industry, the class gives them a small taste to see if the students enjoy the work involved.

While Galligan offers a new perspective for Lynden students, Lynden itself is new for the young teacher. Before moving with his wife and 1-year-old son to Whatcom County, Galligan was teaching music to all grades in Alaska. The idea of not only returning to the lower-48 was appealing, but so was the ability to focus on just high school students.

“When I teach music, I like to focus on the musical concepts that creates musicianship,” he says. “Teaching the basics is fun for a while, but I like teaching the next-level concepts, giving them a deeper understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

Doing all that in Lynden has proven a good change for Galligan. “When we were looking around for jobs, we saw the Lynden opening and looked into how stable this town is in terms of the school district. It just looked, honestly, a lot better than where we were at.”

Originally from Minnesota — Galligan jokes this is the first place he has ever lived that it doesn’t drop below zero degrees during the year and taking the dog for a walk in a t-shirt in December isn’t something he’s accustomed to — he has enjoyed both the change of scenery and the support from the community. “There has been nothing but warm welcome from coworkers and administration,” he says. “Administration has been very supportive and it has been a very positive start.”

In Alaska, Galligan taught in a district where he says half the job was behavior coaching. “I didn’t expect how respectful all these (Lynden) kids are,” he says. “The kids are raised right. I wasn’t prepared for how excited they were going to be. We have been able to harness that energy and that is what has kick started the year so well.”