The success of the Chamber choir, Symphonic Chorus, Symphonic band and Orchestra can be attributed to the faculty of the Music Department of Yuba College: Dr. Allan Glenn Miller, Joaquina Johnson, Dr. Robert Mathews, and J. Cameron Hoffman.
Allan Glenn Miller, with AA, BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees in Music, has served as an instructor with the Yuba College music department for 13 years. Miller has a wide range of experience, teaching seven years at a Junior High School in East L.A. to six years at Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, California. Miller once served as the principal Trombonist in the Orange County Symphony Orchestra and also performed at Disneyland for two years. Miller is now the principal Trombonist with the Shasta Symphony.
At Yuba College, Miller teaches people of all ages, from advanced level high school aged pupils to returning students and faculty members. He teaches 150-170 students per day this semester, 20 percent of which are Music majors and another 20 percent are Music minors. Miller ensures the groups he directs are the best musicians they can be, demanding a lot from his students but making sure they have enjoyment.
“Music is a discipline,” said Miller. “It takes lots of practice. Music is the most important class my students will take in college. If you fail a test in another class, you only hurt yourself. If you fail in a concert, you hurt your whole group.”
Joaquina Johnson has taught at Yuba College for 25 years. She earned a diploma in Operatic Performance from the London Opera Center, an undergraduate diploma from Sacramento State University as a Violin major. Johnson has earned her Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Bloomington, Indiana. Johnson has studied all over Europe such as in Leid, Germany, and performed in operas in Barga, Italy, and London, England.
Johnson teaches Elementary and Intermediate Voice, Applied Voice, the Chamber singers and the Symphonic Chorus, as well as the Yuba Sutter Youth Chorus and the Bel Canto singers. She believes that music students should be committed to what their studies.
“The students in the Music Department are very eager to learn,” said Johnson. “They’re open, polite, want to be challenged, and willing to make a commitment. Music takes a great deal of discipline, and it takes a while to develop.”
J. Cameron Hoffman is the accompanying pianist for Johnson’s two vocal groups on campus, teaching the keyboarding classes on campus since earlier this year. Hoffman has been playing piano since he was seven years old, earning his BA in Music from California State University at Stanislaus in Turlock, California. Hoffman has played professionally since he was 18, working at music theatres and an opera company. Hoffman has 40 students in his keyboarding classes, the majority of them non-Music major. Hoffman takes a great approach to his classes, emphasizing patience “while being as least tyrannical as possible.”
Hoffman enjoys teaching his keyboarding class, but sees where a new approach to the material can be taken. Hoffman believes that the keyboarding classes should take an approach similar to the guitar classes offered on campus, in which folk and rock styles are taught as well as classical styles.
“Hopefully, that’ll be on the horizon,” says Hoffman. “Much of the teachings are dictated by the texts, and also my own experience.”Robert Mathews has been teaching here at Yuba College for two years. He holds BA and MM degrees in Music Education, as well as a second Masters degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition, both from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Texas. Matthews has traveled throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, performing in groups as diverse as a Mariachi band in South Texas, a Gamelon orchestra in Bali, while studying traditional folk music in South Korea. He came to Yuba College after teaching at the University of Maryland, Asian Division in Seoul, Korea and Lincoln University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr. Mathews conducts a lot of research for his classes, as much as three hours for every class hour. Mathews believes that the college’s music department is very strong.
“We have a great piano program, and it’s incredible that Miller has a full Symphony here on campus, as well as a Jazz Ensemble,” said Mathews.Mathews believes that the Yuba College Music Department would benefit from a Strings class on campus. “I taught three students Violin in my Applied Music Skills class,” said Mathews. “Several other students heard I was teaching violin, but I had no room. That says there are students wanting to learn violin. We’d need another teacher, though, and a new setup.”
Faculty members speak highly of the students as well, believing that music students benefit from regarding music as a way of life.“My students are very good in general, and they love music. That’s why I demand a lot of them,” said Miller. “Many of the students are intimidated by the music in the beginning of the semester, but those who stay with the bands become better musicians. Music is a wonderful way to express yourselves.”
“I love teaching, and I love my students,” added Johnson. “Music is a way of life, if you really want to do it right.”
“I love teaching here; it’s great,” said Mathews. “The students, after taking Advanced Harmony, are as good as any musician out there.”
“There are all kinds of opportunities to excel in music; it’s deeper and more personal than most classes,” said Hoffman. “I want my students to take with them a love of music after leaving Yuba College.”