The Lion's Roar

New Music Teacher Likes Socks

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New Music Teacher Likes Socks

By Josee Matela '16, Staff Writer

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In a way, Mr. Burjis Cooper believes that his purpose as a music teacher boils down to crazy socks… or at least what they represent.

“Music is about as freeing a class as you can get in high school. We can stand up and do silly movements and I wear silly socks… What I’d like to show is that it’s alright to be a little weird sometimes… I want people to be comfortable with themselves at the end of the day,” says Mr. Cooper.

Although he is a newly minted teacher, West is on old stomping ground as he is a proud, recent alumnus of the school and its choir program. Being on the other side of the desk proves strange at times such as “calling old teachers by their first names,” but his experience gives a unique note of empathy and accessibility in his daily song.

He adds, “Getting to rejoin the community in a way and getting to serve the community that made me want to major in music has been absurd, that’s a dream.”

If one looks closely around the vocal wing, there are hidden mementos of Mr. Cooper’s past time at West. From pictures to a placard proudly bearing his name, his past influence is commemorated while his current presence begins to take root.

As he relayed in his back to school night presentation to parents, he wishes to go beyond the notes on a page and delve into procuring a memorable and transformational time everyday for his students. This extra depth provides students with a welcoming and warm environment to “disconnect from the outside world and connect with those around them.”

His favorite quote, by Robert Shaw, summarizes his platform: “We believe that in a world of political, economic, and personal disintegrations music is not a luxury but a necessity – not simply because it is “therapeutic” nor because it is a “universal language” but because it is a persistent focus of man’s intelligence, aspiration, and goodwill.”

From start to finish, his lessons are taught with a joyous vivacity as he shares his love of music with those before him. It is not a matter of grades that measures the success of the class but the music experiences and life lessons that stay with the student after the dismissal of the bell.

His drive, dedication, and diligence resound beyond the vocals. It’s often said that home is where the heart is and Mr. Cooper is finally back home to help others find a place where their heart can reside and flourish.

Though only two months in, Mr. Cooper is a beacon displaying the realization of dreams coming true. With that, he holds a bright future and has the ability to light the way to success through music for future Lions, all the while wearing crazy socks in the process.

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New Music Teacher Likes Socks