Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Music Director
Bill Pernice brings a lifetime of experience in music and education to his work as Lead Music Teacher and Music Program Coordinator at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.
The piano has been his instrument of choice since he first began lessons at age 4. Bill attended SUNY Fredonia for music education, and then moved to California to study jazz. For six years, he worked as a professional performer there before moving back east with his family. He continued his career as a musician in the New York metro area. His move towards teaching came when his son started kindergarten.
“My wife knew about Waldorf education and wanted to send our son to a Waldorf kindergarten,” he said. “I was performing at night then and would drop our son off at school in the morning. The teacher asked for some help in the classroom and none of the other parents were available, so I volunteered and was just captivated by it.”
Bill continued to assist in the kindergarten and joined a study group to explore Rudolf Steiner’s work. He then completed his Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge Institute and started a small Waldorf school where he taught kindergarten for 4 years. At that point, he decided to merge his two passions and begin teaching music.
“Music is integral to everyone’s life, directly and peripherally. Everyone is moved by music in some way,” he said. “It’s exciting to work with students and be able to create something out of nothing with them.”
He joined the Green Meadow Waldorf School where he served as a music teacher for 18 years. He worked as the Development Director and Pedagogical Administrator at the school for several years before returning to the classroom. Then in 2018, he accepted the position of Music Director at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School.
In his role, Bill oversees the music curriculum for all the grades and teaches 5th grade music class, 4th and 5th grade orchestra, middle school orchestra and chorus, and high school chorus, as well as high school electives and afterschool ensembles. Over the next few years, Bill looks forward to continuing to develop the music program in the High School to offer instrumental classes.
Throughout his career as an educator, Bill has composed and arranged music that relates to what the students are studying. He also enjoys writing music for High School main lessons and plays. He still remains as passionate today about the value of music in education as he did when he began teaching.
“In Waldorf education, it’s not about creating musicians, but about bringing the musician out in each student,” he said. “The music curriculum in turn informs creative thinking in other subjects.”
In addition to teaching, Bill continues to perform professionally on the weekend playing jazz in Orange County and New York City, and also performs in Columbia County when the occasion arises.
To learn more about Hawthorne Valley’s music program through the grades, please visit our website.