Jason Feldman

Grace Lorenzo, Staff Writer

Introducing Jason Feldman, a senior here at FTHS, who was selected as one of the students of the month! His dedication to the music department, specifically in band, has been remarkable throughout all of his four years in high school. His musical involvement at Freehold Township High School has also allowed his hard work, creativity, and talent to truly shine! Congratulations to Jason on this amazing achievement!

First off, I just want to say congratulations!

– Thank you!

You’re welcome! My first question for you is, why do you feel that you were picked as Student of the Month, and how did you feel when you were picked? 

– I feel that I was picked because I’ve participated in some extended opportunities within the band program, and had success there. I think that Mr. Gattsek appreciates my effort with that, which I know he did, because he told me! But, yeah, it’s pretty cool to be picked, because it’s extra recognition. Just to give specifics, I applied for the Region Band, which is kind of a high honor band that you travel down to New Providence to audition for. I actually was able to get in! 


– Thanks!

What sparked your interest in band? 

– My mother is actually a band director. 

Oh okay!

– So, I’ve grown up with music my entire life. I always knew I wanted to do band because, up until I was 10 years old, I wasn’t doing it since I was too young. And then, I got into 5th grade, and was like, “I’m totally doing this!” I started out playing percussion, and then after a couple of years, I decided to switch to playing tuba, which is what I play now. Honestly, from when I was little to now, I’ve always just been in love with band. 

Cool! Did your mom teach you to play any of the instruments you started out with? 

– Yes. So, she was actually my band director for a little bit. 


– She teaches at Eisenhower, and I went to Eisenhower. 

Me too! 

– Oh, nice!

Your mom is Mrs. Feldman? 

– Exactly! So, when I was going through middle school, she was my band director. So, I guess the answer is yes!

That’s great! Do you see this involvement in music and band being a part of your future? 

– *laughs* That’s kind of funny, because, absolutely, yes! I’m actually applying to be a music educator. 

That’s great!

– I’ve actually done one audition for college already but I have 8 more lined up. So, yeah, I really want to be playing instruments my whole life. I want to make a life in music. 

Do you have a specific college you really want to go to? 

– The only place I’ve auditioned so far is Towson University, and I have a few more. I would say the most difficult program that I’m applying to is Michigan University, because they have a really good tuba studio. 

Would you recommend being in band to any incoming freshmen or people who are thinking about joining and why? 

– I would say yes and no! I think it’s absolutely beneficial for every single type of person, but it’s the type of thing where, for some people, it’s not the right choice to fit into their life. It’s a massive time commitment. So, I think if you’re willing to alter the flow of your life, then it’s incredibly beneficial to be in band. But, you really can’t do it if it’s gonna be an “on the side, hit it once a week” type of thing, because it demands more time. But, I mean, band demanding more time among other things is why I think it’s so great. It’s really great for character building, and you’re working on a skill, so it’s just fantastic!

What do you think the most beneficial skill that you learned from being in band is? 

– I think the greatest skill that you learn is how to adapt to changes in plans. The thing is, when you go into band, there’s different “seasons,” essentially. You have marching band season, you have your concert band. But then, within yourself, if you’re going for these higher honor bands, you have to plan out how you’re going to train for those. So, you can only plan so far ahead, but, somewhere in that plan, you’re going to need to make changes along the way. The amount of times I’ve done that and seen it done with Mr. Gattsek and the musical directors we have, it’s really pretty great how you learn to deal with failure and move on and continue to push your level up. You just learn how to take a situation and always make it the best thing it can be and better yourself and reach a positive place. 

I totally understand the skill of adapting to changes since I’m a choir student myself! Concert season is always changing with schedules and rehearsals. 

– So, you were a part of the winter choir? 


– So you remember, I believe you guys were working on “Hallelujah Chorus,” and then we switched it out right near the end!

Yes, it was a last minute change, but it ended up being a great concert!

– Yeah, exactly! See, that’s the whole point!

What was your favorite piece that you played? 

– My favorite piece that I ever played is one that I’m working on right now! I never actually performed it yet, but it’s going to be one that I use when I’m auditioning for college. It’s by Vivaldi and it’s called, “Sonata No. 3 in A- Minor.” It’s originally to be played for cello, but someone adapted it for tuba, and I’m playing it!

That’s awesome! Is there any group of people or maybe teachers that contributed to your interest in band? Tell us who!

– I would say, obviously Mr. Gattsek! I’ve known him way longer than being in high school, and he’s always been around. It’s interesting because I’m actually districted for Freehold Boro High School, but because of me knowing Mr. Gattsek and how smart he is and how much I wanted to learn from him, I had the opportunity to and decided to come to school here. Specifically, to be in his band program, to be honest! I haven’t told him this, so he’ll find out, I guess! But, that’s really what it is. I also have an older sister who went through the band program, as well, and I got to watch her do it. I got to watch her throughout her performances and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to go there!” And then, because she was here, I got the choice: “Okay, do you want to go to Boro, or do you want to do this ‘grandfathered’ program, this sequence to go to Township?” And I thought about it a little bit, and I decided to come here! So, pretty much exclusively because of that program is why I came here, so Mr. Gattsek definitely contributed. 

That’s great how you kind of carried your family on here by taking part in the band program! If you could create and be in charge of any new club at FTHS, what would it be? 

– This is kind of out of nowhere, but it would be something martial arts related! I’ve done martial arts my whole life. I’ve trained tae- kwon- do for 15 years at this point, and I just think there’s nothing really like that here. The closest thing we have is the wrestling program, but I don’t really want it to be a sport, you know? If I were to create a tae- kwon- do program here, or any kind of general martial arts program, it wouldn’t be competition- based because I think the greatest value from training in that type of stuff is within your personal character. So, I think when you bring competition it kind of changes your ability to do that. When it’s a competition, you make it about other people in addition to yourself. I understand its place and I appreciate sports martial arts and MMA, stuff like that, but just for me, personally, competition is not what I want to get out of it. 

Do you have any passions or hobbies outside of band that you enjoy? Share your favorite one!

– Yes, I do a few things, a lot! *laughs* So, the biggest thing I do is music, of course, and then the second biggest thing is, as I said, tae- kwon- do, and I also teach tae- kwon- do. My school is called UTA, it’s in Manalapan. Through that school, I was able to be introduced to some floor gymnastics stuff, so I also do some of that. We call it “tumbling.” 

That’s awesome!

– I actually coach tumbling as well because it’s through the same organization. So, to list it, all the stuff I do: I do band, tae- kwon- do, and tumbling! Out of interest, I’m starting to get into some jujitsu, as well. 

Cool! Finally, just as a random question, what’s your favorite show? 

– Out of TV shows or marching shows? *laughs*

Either one!

– Okay, I’ll go marching show, since it’s relevant! *laughs* My favorite marching show was probably the “Harry Potter” marching show we did two years ago. I grew up with Harry Potter a lot – my family’s a bunch of nerds! We did Harry Potter World, we did all that stuff, and it was kind of a nostalgia to sprinkle in with the performance. 

That’s fun! Congratulations again on being selected!

– Thank you!

We all appreciate your commitment to the music department and band, and I’m sure Mr. Gattsek appreciates it! Thank you for letting me interview you!

– Thank you for having me!

Of course!

Here’s what Mr. Gattsek, the FTHS Band director, had to say about Jason: 

“Jason recently won his audition for Region II Band. He has been a tuba section leader for two years in our band. Jason is currently mentoring younger tuba students on a regular basis. He is a role model in our band.”