In addition, when one teaches music to young students, it becomes a motivational tool which can keep a student on the right track in their educational pursuits or help him return to that track if he has wandered off.
Darlene Guida, a Clayton County music teacher for more than 34 years, hopes to be remembered this way as she has retired this year from the school system as one of the most beloved teachers at James Jackson Elementary School, which she helped open eight years ago.
The married mother of two and East Point native, Guida, who has had the unique experience of teaching music at three schools simultaneously for four years and two schools simultaneously for 11 years, believes music can excite and motivate students to succeed in other school subjects.
“I have a passion and love for music that is only equaled by the love I have for the children I teach music to,” she said, crediting Clayton County School Superintendent Edmond Heatley, Ed.D., and the school principals she has taught under, for carrying that same love for music and children.
Her family is well entrenched in music as Guida’s son plays bass guitar for his Peachtree Christian Church’s contemporary worship program while her daughter, who was part of the prestigious touring Spivey Hall Children’s Choir for eight years, is heavily involved in music at her McDonough Christian Church.
“My husband, Vince, bless him, can’t carry a tune but he shares the great appreciation for music that I have,” Guida said.
Although she said her three-plus decades with the Clayton County Public School System has been as rewarding as her association with the students she has taught, Guida, who is chairman of the state’s Music in Our Schools Program, said one of the most exciting elements of her career was helping develop the Fine Arts Magnet program at Mt. Zion High School.
She also credits Jackson Elementary School Principal Donna Jackson, with whom she worked to develop the magnet program at the school, as one of her greatest inspirational figures.
“I feel most blessed to have also worked with three of my former students who are now music teachers, with two returning to Clayton County to work with me,’ she said.
Asked her favorite type of music, Guida said it’s not the type of music but the quality of the music, whether classical, contemporary or even blue grass, that inspires her.
“You can find quality music in almost any musical composition and that is what I will always cherish,” she said.