Spotlight: Mr. Seaton


Gisele Serna, Reporter

Setting up engaging opportunities and helpful learning environments for musically inclined students can be a daunting task. Not only does the setup take time away from regular day-to-day teaching, but the actual event itself requires an immense amount of commitment. Picture the amount of work that goes into Honor Band, Musicals with a live pit, concerts, and setting up isolated lessons with groups of students. Mr. Seaton has a part in it all, and many students admire him for it. Apart from that Seaton himself is an interesting person who adds character to the LVA campus.

According to one student, “He is a well-loved teacher who you can tell really loves the work he does. Even when we were online, he would find engaging topics to talk about amongst students to keep them engrossed in the class. I remember times where we would have played tests through the meet, and although they were stress-provoking it really pushed me to continue with music, even though most of us at the time were struggling with that.” Hearing what students have to say about him, further proves he has a special place here at LVA.

The online process and the transition that came after it proved to be difficult for everyone. Hearing the positive experiences that came out of it shows the resilient environment Seaton infuses into the Band program. These personal accounts are needed to challenge students’ abilities to adapt and keep moving forward. It’s incredibly important to teach these skills so students can bring them into real-life situations. 

When asked what three words best describe Seaton, Miles Ray, a junior band minor, said, “I would describe Mr. Seaton as diligent, he does a lot of work for the kids and especially in preparation for new pieces that he’s doing. One time he told us how he spent hours the night before just trying to work out all the conducting and what he wanted to do with the piece, I thought that was so inspiring. He’s also very concise about what he wants. When he starts a new piece and we’re working through it he makes a point, he’s probably got a lot of notes written down on his big chart, but he gets exactly what he wants done. When something doesn’t go how he wants, then he puts it in very clear words, and we’re usually able to fix the problem in about five to ten minutes. And find the final word I’d probably say is uplifting. I mean, sometimes he’s just really unintentionally funny. You know, but other times he’s got a very bright spirit. He’s ready to come in and do a lot of work and that’s very admirable, very inspiring. He’s a menace on the pickleball court. You have not seen him on the pickleball court. He is insane.” 

Don’t just take it from Miles; Marco Valazquez-Reafs has had a similar experience. Marco was asked how Seaton compares to a previous teacher, to which he said, “He’s a lot more active with the students. Instead of just focusing on the overall piece, he goes through each section to make sure it sounds the way that it’s supposed to and it gives a feeling when you’re listening. My previous band teacher didn’t really do that. She mainly focused on getting everybody playing and making sure the rhythms are correct. This really dives into everything to get it sounding like a professional sounding piece.”

Seaton has proved time and time again how hardworking he is and does his best to instill that in the students he teaches. This trait stems early on as he states, “I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. There really weren’t any private teachers. There wasn’t an LVA. There weren’t any community groups,… my only option was to work really hard because I didn’t have a lot of instruction.” Based on this information, the dedication he put into music is impressive, not only in a musical sense but in a directorial sense.

Originally, he planned to keep his focus on performing, completing his master’s in performance, but after spending more time teaching he realized that was what made him happiest. When asked who continued to inspire him after joining the LVA community, he responded by saying, “I frankly have learned a lot just from working with the students at LVA, because they demand so much careful planning on my part and study. They bring so much artistry already. It’s like if I’m not really knowledgeable about the pieces of the material, I don’t really have much to give them so they’ve just kind of, I don’t know, just inspired me to keep studying and bring more to the table every year.” This was a very surprising, yet moving response. It shows how much care and devotion he puts into his work, continuing to uplift and encourage students to perfect their crafts.