Faculty Spotlight: Jeff Danielson

Chairman of Fine Arts Department and Lower School Strings and Orchestra Teacher, 
Department and Program Affiliations:
Chairman, Fine Arts Department and Director, School of the Arts

Academic background:
B.A., French Language Studies, Oberlin College
B.M., Violin Performance, Oberlin Conservatory
M.M., Violin Performance, University of Akron
How long have you been at Norfolk Academy?
I have been teaching full-time at NA for twenty three years and served as an adjunct violin teacher for two years before that.

Tell us why you wanted to become an educator:
Teaching is learning, so I have the pleasure of spending my time finding new ways of sharing and improving students’ skills in music making. Helping very energetic and curious young people make music together is a beautiful thing! Those that stick with it and do  it the right way end up developing time management skills, discipline, patience, perseverance, and the all-important grit needed for life. Plus, it’s fun!

What most excites you about working at Norfolk Academy?
It took several years of talking to public school music teachers before I realized just how much freedom NA teachers have.

Norfolk Academy is unique because…
...the Lower School has an atrium and a “B trium”!

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working?  
Working on violin improvising skills, watching movies, and giving Yahtzee, Uno, and Monopoly lessons at home.

Last book read:
I was on a Ring Lardner short story binge all summer and recently finished Ring: A Biography of Ring Lardner by Jonathan Yardley.
I’m currently wading through volume 2 of Mark Twain’s unique autobiography. Most of it was dictated by him during the last years of his life and is comprised of memories, stories, and rants that do not appear in any kind of chronological order. He stipulated in his will that it was not to be published until a century after his death, ostensibly permitting him to write and comment honestly “from the grave” without worrying about his or others’ feelings.
Favorite food?   
Orange Creamsicles

A movie is being made about your life. Whom would they cast to play you?
An excellent actor, I hope.
Fun fact your students might not know about you/might find surprising:
My fifteen minutes of fame lasted about an hour when I portrayed “Mischa, the strolling violinist” on two episodes of the TV sitcom Big Brother Jake. I had a serious amount of “face time” and the legit actors from New York were a bit surprised and miffed after finding out I was just a local music teacher.

“When I grow up, I want to be…”
...able to play in tune.