Meet Flagstone Music Teacher Stephen Mirandi

Stephen Mirandi Finds His Rhythm at Flagstone Elementary
Posted on 01/19/2024

Music teacher Stephen Mirandi is finding his rhythm in his second year with DCSD at Flagstone Elementary in Castle Rock.

Mirandi earned his BA in Music Education and Performance at SUNY Potsdam, N.Y. The Long Island native followed in his sister’s footsteps, moving to Colorado a few years after graduating college. 

Mirandi teaches grades K-6 and movement is key for the younger grades. The kindergarteners and first graders dance and participate in fun singing activities. Students in second and third grades are introduced to the xylophone and recorders. Students in fourth through sixth grades are learning the ukulele and studying music history, including jazz and blues, country, b-pop, rap, and classical music. In fifth and sixth grades, students get more familiar with the ukulele.

Students playing music in Stephen Mirandi's class

“To make learning the recorder fun, I place different colored strips of tape on the student’s recorder to represent their level of understanding, similar to colored karate belts,” said Mirandi. 

Earlier this year Mirandi realized he needed more recorders so that every student had one to play in class. He put a call out to the Flagstone community and parents helped him purchase recorders. Flagstone is a very giving community, he said.

Four days a week Mirandi has before and after school activities. He teaches choir before school and band/orchestra after school. 

Learning a new instrument can be scary. To encourage students to step outside their comfort zone Mirandi rewards brave students with the Mustang Award. Recently a boy who was the first student to come to the front of the class to play the ukulele with Miradi received the award.

Mirandi said students enjoy the listening units and discussing why they like or don’t like a  particular type of music, including identifying consonance and dissonance, the song’s mood, and how it makes them feel. 

Mirandi’s favorite type of listening music is jazz, and he enjoys electronic dance music. His favorite jazz artist is Patrick Bartley. That’s not surprising considering Mirandi started playing the saxophone in fourth grade and continued into high school. He also played the clarinet. 

Students learning to play instruments with teacher Stephen Mirandi

As a teacher, Mirandi says he’s learning all the time. 

“I can problem-solve better now than in my early days of substitute teaching. I still worry sometimes whether a lesson plan will work. That can be stressful. I’ve learned to build in extra time with the younger students because not everything will go as planned,” he said.

Mirandi said the kids are happy, kind, and honest! 

“They’ll tell you what they’re thinking,” he shared. “I’m very proud to be a teacher. I bring my job home, so I’m thankful for the breaks.” 

Mirandi has found a home here in DCSD. He likes to hang out with his co-workers, and the Colorado climate is a plus.

“I enjoy the outdoors and the nearby hiking trails. The weather is better here than in New York, and my allergies have improved with less pollen. The cold weather and hot temperatures are less extreme here,” he said.

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