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Music teacher volunteers on the side

by Laura Brunzlick, Nevada Appeal News Service

Chuck Wayne believes learning a musical instrument can help all children focus better at school.

Wayne volunteers at Gene L. Scarselli Elementary School in the Gardnerville Ranchos five days a week.

“Hyperactive kids that keep practicing (an instrument) start reading and can better focus,” he said. Wayne helps children play instruments on a one-on-one basis at Scarselli.

He also works with students in groups, pulling aside saxophone or flute players for instruction.

Wayne, a former public school band teacher, works alongside Scarselli’s music and band director Marilu Baker.

“I do it for the kids,” Wayne said.

“As a trained teacher I believe music contributes to other learning skills such as reading comprehension,” he said.

Scarselli students who take band meet for one hour before school, Wayne said, because band hasn’t been offered during the day since 1995.

In addition to volunteering, Wayne teaches piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, trumpet, drums and percussion instruments from his home business Wayne’s Family Music.

“I have had 5 year olds and 70 year olds (as students),” he said. “I like the kids the best.”

Wayne works with students individually six days a week. He also repairs instruments and tunes and restores pianos.

“I have students from Bridgeport and Markleeville, California,” he said. “People just seem to find me.”

Wayne worked as a music teacher for 25 years, including stints as band teacher at C.C. Meneley Elementary School from 1991 to 1992 and at Gardnerville Elementary School from 1992 to 1995.

His job was eliminated after the 1995 school year when three general music teachers were given the task of teaching band. Wayne focused his energies on his business after his career in public education ended.

Wayne, 47, also volunteers playing at Merrill Gardens and the Carson Valley Residential Care Center, both in Gardnerville.

“They don’t want to let you go,” he said. “They want me to stay all day.”

He plays on occasion at Sierra Place Assisted Living in Carson City.

“Some of the patients in the Alzheimer’s unit couldn’t remember yesterday but could remember tunes from 50 years ago,” he said.

Wayne is no stranger to older compositions, having played piano pieces from the 1930s and ’40s while working on the Queen Mary, an ocean liner turned floating museum in Long Beach, Calif.

Wayne and his wife, Karen, moved to the Ranchos in 1985. They both were raised in Southern California.

By high school, Wayne played a dozen instruments.

Wayne, who learned the piano from his grandfather at age 5 and studied with concert pianist Joseph Ogle, at first wanted to be a concert pianist.

“I changed my mind because I am a family man,” he said.

Karen and Chuck Wayne have two sons and a daughter. Three members of the family teach music.