Staff Spotlight: Mr. Tanaka


Lifetouch National School Studios Inc.

Yearbook photo of Mr. Tanaka

Gisele Serna, Reporter

The year 2021 brought more than a new school year to LVA: it brought an abundance of fresh-faced teachers as well, one of them being Julian Tanaka, the new Jazz and Music Theory teacher. Mr. Tanaka happens to have a background here starting in his own high school years. He graduated as a band major in 2008. Tanaka had the pleasure of starting off his LVA experience online, which from his perspective, has some differences from the typical LVA experience. Although, both years had their highs and lows.

“You know,… it’s really automatic for us to go and go in and be like, ‘Okay, we’re going to rehearse, we’re going to play.’ I know how to do that. But when you’re online and you have to prepare for these lessons where you’re not rehearsing and you have to think more on how to interact with people and stuff.” Some of the many changes Tanaka had to adapt to was the way he delivered new information to his students. For a multitude of reasons, playing altogether as a band virtually isn’t very feasible, so Tanaka opened up his teaching to history. Some categories include Women of Jazz, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong.

Adapting and growing accustomed to teaching like that is a great skill set to have. Not only was he able to start new with a whole community of students but he was also able to ensure everyone was still learning, and he had a good level of interaction. There were even breakout rooms with para pros and a range of different playing assignments to really motivate students to continue their craft. Even though it wasn’t an ideal situation, Tanaka put great effort into it.

Although Tanaka was not a new member of the LVA family, picking back up years later seems challenging, a challenge that Tanaka handled well seeing as this new in-person year has been smoother sailing than the previous year and similar to picking up where he left off. As he puts it, “To me, it feels kind of like an extension, it’s almost like I never left. You know, I don’t feel like I’m on the other side.”