Switzer’s passion shows in teaching


Mike Carlson

Brian Switzer teaches the jazz ensemble during third period.

Mike Carlson, Staff Writer

Brian Switzer has joined the music department this year as the assistant band director.

Switzer teaches three classes: jazz ensemble, concert band, and string orchestra. Additionally, he teaches morning jazz during zero period.

Before coming to Carlmont, Switzer had many jobs as a music teacher and a professional trumpet player.

He taught at Borel Middle School in San Mateo, gave private lessons, and ran a summer jazz academy.

One of his most notable jobs was when he toured with the band Train for two years.

Switzer said, “Train asked me to play one song with them at a performance. By the end of the week, I was playing on 13 songs and they invited me on tour. I was playing in Amsterdam ten days later.”

Before becoming a teacher at Carlmont, Switzer also created Jazzdeck, a product that makes it easy to learn how to improvise by using a step by step process. It is a deck of 54 cards that enables a student to just line up the cards and play.

Jazzdeck is currently being sold online and in dozens of stores nationwide.

Many of Switzer’s students are impressed by his passion in the classroom.

“Mr. Switzer is one of the most passionate teachers I have had at Carlmont,” said Danny Crook, a senior who is in the Carlmont jazz ensemble. “The most valuable thing that Switzer has given me is an increased appreciation for jazz due to his unique attitude and passion towards the genre.”

Switzer, in turn, is impressed by the program that he has become a part of at Carlmont.

“This is an extraordinary program that John DeBaldo has set up, and it has really made being a teacher here easy. All the students are engaged, and they even thank me when they leave the class, which I’ve never seen before,” said Switzer.