This year, Lawrenceville welcomed Stephen Rozek as its new Director of Instrumental Studies. Apart from working in the music department, Rozek also has also served on the duty team in the Cleve House and directs the 8 O’Clock Jazz Combo and Jazz Mini Big Band. When he is not teaching in the Clark Music Center or on duty in the Cleve House, Rozek is most likely “spending time with [his] wife and four children, reading, practicing [the] saxophone, and listening to music.”
Rozek has had a long history of working with music. When he was 11 years old, he heard a recording of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker and immediately “fell in love with the sound of the saxophone and what the instrument was capable of doing.” He was drawn in and has not quit playing the saxophone since. In fact, growing up, he spent eight years playing in the Heritage of America band, an ensemble in the United States Air Force, as he wanted to serve his country with his talents and give back to the veterans. “It was all about service,” Rozek explained.
Rozek began his teaching career later on. He taught at Lawrenceville from 2005 to 2010, then became the Chair of Fine Arts at the Culver Academies in Indiana. Because Rozek truly enjoyed his teaching career at Lawrenceville many years ago, he seized the opportunity to return when he heard there was an open position. He was excited by the opportunity to return to the East Coast, where he attended graduate school; more importantly, he was drawn to Lawrenceville’s culture. Now, reflecting on his time at Lawrenceville so far, Rozek deems his experience “rewarding.” He feels fortunate that he has been able to enjoy encountering and teaching “a great bunch of students” in all of his classes, and that his fellow passionate educators have each been supportive and “inspiring.”
Rozek currently teaches Explorations of Music, Foundations of Music, Jazz Improvisation and Honors Music Theory. When asked if he has a favorite course to teach, Rozek stated that as long as all his students are “engaged and fearless” in his classes, any course he teaches is his favorite.
Reflecting on his musical career, Rozek said, “Music has given me so much over the years—I will forever be in debt.” He wants to share his passion for music with others and increase his students’ “understanding of the art form” in a way similar to how his own mentors have furthered his music career. Rozek firmly believes that through comprehending the different aspects of music, students will learn to both empathize and appreciate the beauty in the world more often.