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Reuben Allen

Performing Arts Faculty
Club Advisor for Love Through Sound & Straight Out of Prep (Music Production Club)

Reuben Allen

What advice do you have for students new to Flintridge Prep?

Flintridge Prep is a close community and if you are engaged and present, it is such a fun place to learn and grow. Your high school years are the chance to form foundations in a variety of subjects, and your teachers are ready to support you, so don't be shy in asking for help when you need it. 

What would our community be surprised to find out about you?

I played baseball and tennis in high school (not at the same time).

How do you spend your free time? 

Hiking, swimming, tennis, cooking, exploring restaurants, and spending time with family and friends.

In which Flintridge Prep teacher's class would you like to enroll, even for a day? Why?

It's difficult to choose only one, but I would be most curious to enroll in any of the history courses, such as ones taught by Sarah Cooper, Josh Perlman, Ingrid Herskind, or really any of the faculty in this department. I am curious about the way that history is taught today and how it might differ from when I was in high school. All of the faculty are so thoughtful and have their own unique perspectives and experiences to offer, and I think it's so important that young students have a deep knowledge of what has happened before so they can make informed decisions at the ballot box and contribute to society.

What do you wish everyone knew about the community and students at Flintridge Prep?

Although Flintridge Prep is a relatively small school, it is buzzing with energy to learn and grow. 

What impact do you hope to have at Prep? How do you see your role in helping create community here?

I hope that I create a welcoming environment and fun opportunities for students of all backgrounds to play and explore a variety of music styles. Every band or orchestra is a community. When students are invested in learning their part and understanding how their role is essential to the whole, there is a strong sense of community and teamwork as everybody is working to make the group sound its best. In advising Flintridge Prep's club Love Through Sound, which brings musical performances to settings such as senior homes, soup kitchens, and charity events, I hope to lead students in contributing to their community by sharing their music.

What do you hope your students take away from your courses?

I hope that students build a strong musical foundation to continue playing, studying, and appreciating music after they graduate, and I hope that they learn to embrace challenges (both musical and non-musical) with a sense of play and fun. I also hope that students develop skills in collaboration as well as sensitive listening (to recordings, to their peers, and to their own sound). Music is similar to language. It can be read, written, spoken, and improvised. I'm always telling students (including instrumentalists!) "If you can sing it, you'll play it better." Finally, I also hope that students leave classes with knowledge of the rich musical traditions that have come before us and how those traditions are being continued and developed today.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

I am grateful to have performed with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Bob Brookmeyer, and John Boutté as well as having my compositions and arrangements played by groups such as the Kenny Barron Quintet and the Houston Symphony Orchestra.  

Describe something you have experienced that feels quintessentially Flintridge Prep?

The pride, energy, and positivity during the Awards Ceremony was inspiring. Everybody was supportive and excited to celebrate the accomplishments and growth of their peers. 

Tell us about a teacher who had a significant impact on you.

I've been fortunate to study with a number of great teachers including Kenny Barron, Frank Kimbrough, Harold Danko, Bill Dobbins, Michael Kocour, Joan Hickey, and Dr. David Fodor. David Fodor was the band director at Evanston Township High School, and he made a huge impact by creating a vibrant jazz program with exciting opportunities for students to perform both in and outside of school. The late great jazz pianist Frank Kimbrough, who I studied with at Juilliard when I completed an Artist Diploma, embodied a spirit of true mentorship. He cared deeply about his students both as musicians and as people. Bill Dobbins, who taught me composition and arranging at the Eastman School of Music, exemplified a level of detail and dedication to the craft of music that I aspire to in my own teaching, playing, and composing. 

Anything else you want to share about yourself or experience at Flintridge Prep?

Every day I walk into the music room excited to explore music with students. Every day is a gift. Beware of my terrible puns and jokes.