Audio Production Highlight: Tom Jones
Filed under: Film & Production
May 8, 2017
Tom Jones is an Adjunct Audio Instructor at The Art Institute of Michigan, but this educator doesn’t just teach the average college student. He spends most of his time teaching high school students as a music teacher and director. He has worked as a band, choir, orchestra, and electronic music director for the Lansing School District for over 39 years. From preparing and planning major trips with the ensembles with upwards to 178 members in the band at one time to preparing a group performance on the Capitol steps in D.C., Jones knows what it takes and has become a very experienced teacher and musician. “I believe that the experiences that I have had the fortune to be a part of in both school settings have presented me with a number of challenges and successes.”
Over the years he has had to adapt. He’s had to figure out how to teach the same lesson to students in many different ways so that it can be understood and learned by all involved. At one point in Jones’ career he taught a sister and brother two years apart whom were both blind. He made sure that they were able to enjoy their talents along with the rest of the crew. “I worked out a system for them to march with the marching bands in all of our performances from pre-game and halftime shows to parades; even performances at Disney World.”
Jones has had many memorable moments, but the most memorable one of all was working with the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin. He performed with Aretha at the Michigan Music festival back in the 90's that took place outside at the Michigan State University campus. “We had quite an evening. Aretha was being herself and not communicating to all concerned. I think she was playing "stump the band" that evening. There was no pre-concert talk thru and our music showed up about 5 minutes before the show.” This was with a 17-piece big band. Jones explained that she walked on stage and sat down at the piano and started to play "Bridge Over Troubled Water." “We were scrambling to find the music. There were at least 3 different arrangements of it in the book of about 150 tunes! That was sort of the way the concert went that evening in front of a 35k crowd.”
In addition to Aretha Franklin, Jones has performed in concerts with Peabo Bryson, Martha Reeves, Frankie Valie, Hal Linden, Bob Hope, the Pied Pipers, the Lennon Sisters, Al Green and much more!
Jones brings his unique experiences into the classroom. Students enjoy his stories and he is a campus favorite. “I really enjoy working here at Ai. The Administration and other staff have been a joy to work with.”