Teacher Spotlight: Rob Jamieson

Jamieson (third from right) poses with his band, Speaker Minds. Jamieson plays drums, and is involved in music as well as teaching. Photo by Martin Van Londen.

Rob Jamieson played several sports in high school, which he had to balance with the artistic ambitions of his adolescence. After two years of community college, he left to pursue music through his punk rock band. “The school of thought was like, you drop out of school and you go follow your dream with the music end of things. The idea that you put all your eggs in one basket,” Jamieson says. Four years later, after realizing that putting all of his time into music wasn’t the right path, he came back to school to get his bachelor’s degree in education.

Jamieson picked up drums in 4th grade, when he was first allowed to choose and play an instrument. His family was very artistic, specifically his father, who played a multitude of instruments. “My brother was playing saxophone, and I was lucky enough that he didn’t already choose drums because I thought that was the coolest one,” Jamieson recalls, “and so I started playing and it was on ever since.” Playing music is something that has stuck with Jamieson his whole life, and something he continues to do so alongside teaching. In joining the Franklin community, he has been invited to join two different bands: Hall Pass and Speaker Minds.

Hall Pass is a group made up of teachers, current and former, from Madison, Reynolds, and Franklin, making their band seven musicians strong. “We play a bunch of covers and have a great time and just enjoy it,” says Jamieson. His playing in the band was initiated by meeting English teacher Harris Ambinder, who also plays music, through the academy system. Jamieson was invited to a couple of jams with Hall Pass and has played drums with them since.

After seeing him play the drums at a multicultural assembly, English teacher Desmond Spann kickstarted a conversation with Jamieson about Speaker Minds, Spann’s nearly eight year running band. Jamieson joined and has been playing with them for nearly four years now. The group plays all original fusion funk hip-hop songs, practicing once or twice a week. “We play a lot of shows around town—different street fairs, festivals, things like that, and that’s all original music,” Jamieson says.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that you can actually do more than one thing really well. If you’re too diversified, you’re limiting yourself, but I am able to do more than one thing. 100 percent of my time doesn’t need to be committed to just one thing. I think I needed to go through that though, to figure that out for myself,” says Jamieson. He credits his current musical situation to returning to education and having his current job here at Franklin. “I’m able to continue to do the things that I want to do, cause I realized that my goals were around making music for my whole life, rather than just have one group that is going to try to quote-unquote make it and get signed and do all that stuff.” He knows many people that have gone through that one big hit phase, and were kind of successful, but that was such a short lived moment. “They may have gotten on MTV and done a tour but now their band is broken up, that music genre has left, and they’re just kinda, like, working a regular job and they kinda ruined it for themselves. I’m interested in playing music for the rest of my life. And so I don’t have any interest in something that is so short lived. Everyone’s got a different path, but it’s good to be balanced.” Not only did Jamieson learn a valuable lesson by branching out and trying different things, but now he has brought music into his life in a permanent and developed way that fits his own style, and it is there to stay.

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