Ron Gerhardstein joins PLU music education faculty after extensive career
As a music educator for the past 18 years, Ron Gerhardstein has taught instrumental and vocal music in both public and private settings in Washington, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Now, as a new PLU faculty member, he’s imparting his knowledge to music education majors who wish to follow in his “teacherly” footsteps.
“PLU’s been on my mind for a long time,” Gerhardstein says. “The size of the University, the size of the department, and as a liberal arts University, it’s really a great place to be.”
Coming from the hectic schedule as a high school band director (he directed concert band, jazz band, and marching band), Gerhardstein says it’s nice to have more breathing room to plan, research and collaborate with students and faculty. At PLU, not only is he able to spend more time teaching and as a mentor, he also gets to collaborate with students in the ensemble he directs, the University Concert Band.
“We’re really trying to grow and develop the Concert Band. To make it a feeder group to the wind ensemble, which is our ultimate goal,” Gerhardstein says. “The group is doing really great, and I’m really proud of their efforts and improvement.”
The band serves as an important resource for student teachers. Every semester Gerhardstein has a student helper who works with the band and conducts a few pieces. He also encourages students to learn a secondary instrument, as versatility is important for music educators.
When asked for his best advice for students embarking on a career in music education he had a few words of wisdom.
“Become the best musician you can. Take that role seriously,” Gerhardstein said. “Start developing your teaching resume in small ways, whether it’s going back to your home town to teach lessons, or coaching students here on a secondary instrument. It’s important to start thinking of yourself as a teacher right away.”
Gerhardstein joins Linda Miller, as the second full-time music education faculty member. Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, Brian Galante, Ed Powell, and Richard Nance also serve students in the Music Education curriculum.
“The community of faculty is one of the greatest highlights of teaching at PLU. The collaborative nature and being part of a mission that impacts the future of music education; that’s really something,” Gerhardstein says.
When not at PLU, he enjoys being outdoors and traveling with his family. He has five kids that range in age from 15 – 28. His wife, Jerilyn, is a first-grade teacher in the Bethel School District.