Ronald Bowman, Instrumental Music Teacher, Gorman Crossing Elementary School
Posted: May 3rd, 2017
Longtime Instrumental Music teacher Ronald Bowman at Gorman Crossing Elementary School has been called a “music legend.” His unwavering passion for music instruction has spread to the entire school community, where almost every student is involved in a music class – an almost unheard of participation rate.
Bowman works with his 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students twice a week in the Band & Strings elective class. He said, “I love challenging my students to do their best. It’s always about the kids. In the end, I want them to be lifelong music lovers.” He added, “I want them to enjoy the process of learning, including how to work as an ensemble where everyone contributes equally.” The students’ hard work pays off each year at packed winter and spring concerts.
“I love the Laurel community, and Gorman Crossing in particular, because the families seem to truly appreciate the level of music their students are performing,” Bowman said. It’s clear Bowman himself is highly valued by his many teaching awards, binders of student thank you letters, and a Baltimore Sun article called “The magnificent musical mentor” on his work. The school’s growth and the popularity of its music program, in large part thanks to Bowman, led to the school’s opening a fine arts wing a few years ago.
Bowman remains humbled by the support he’s received from his school community and music teachers throughout the school system. “Ron is the heart of our music program. He makes sure his kids love and benefit from a musical education. Simply put, he has a strong following,” said Deborah Caldwell, Gorman Crossing’s principal. Assistant Principal Gillian Spivey cited the scores of former students who come back to visit Bowman and help with concerts, and the loyalty of a parent volunteer who has accompanied Bowman’s concerts for 18 years.
Bowman was surrounded by music growing up and realized at a young age he wanted to direct his passion into helping others discover the joy in music. His parents were music lovers with his mother a pianist and his dad a drummer. His older brother is a director of music and piano player on Broadway. Bowman’s career as a music teacher spans more than 30 years, four school districts, elementary through high school levels, and a wide variety of classes such as marching band, music theory, piano, guitar and jazz ensemble.
Bowman is grateful for his many teaching experiences but decided to dedicate the rest of his career to teaching elementary level band in the Laurel community, specifically at Gorman Crossing where he’s been for 19 years. As Bowman looks to retirement in the near future, he reflects, “I fell in love with the energy that kids have at this age level. If you can channel that into learning an instrument, there’s nothing better.”