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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Eric Heidner’s forte is conducting pieces for the music department

Claire Geriak
Professor Eric Hediner conducts “Seven’s The One” for City College’s Good Times Big Band on Nov. 17 at the Garvin Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Growing up as a musician starting with elementary-level recorder and piano, Professor Eric Heidner has had a lifelong passion for music.

When Heidner attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, he was told there was no future in music for him and engineering was where the money was. 

Eventually graduating from there with a Master’s degree in musicology, a Bachelor’s degree in Music in trombone performance and a few semesters of engineering down the drain, Heidner continued his passion for music education and became the Director of Bands at Santa Barbara High School and taught music at other schools in the area.  

Since then, the UCSB alumni has worked at City College for 20 years and has taught classes such as basic musicianship, music fundamentals, music appreciation and the applied music program. He also leads the Good Times Big Band and Concert Band. 

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“He has a great attitude every day,” Music major Julius Sherman said. “It’s very clear that Heidner wants to be there every day. He gives everyone his full attention and cares about the programs, the bands, and the individual students which is so motivating to be around.” 

One of Heidner’s favorite programs with the music department is the applied program. This is where students get private lessons with a professor then get to perform in one of the several recitals held throughout the semester. 

“I love the one-on-one learning aspect of the applied program but also the thrill of the big bands,” Heidner said. 

One of his biggest joys with the music department is filling in the gaps for students who have previously taken entry-level music classes in their past education. This is seen in his fundamental music and basic musicianship classes. 

“Coming into musicianship, he was super open to everyone’s different stages in their knowledge,” student Katherine Cordova said. “He is always super enthusiastic and excited to start class, which always sets a positive mood for the day.” 

Due to the different skill sets and diverse age groups he teaches, he has to modify some of his lessons to help students absorb and apply certain skills. This has helped him grow as both a musician and a teacher.

A mentor for Heidner was his former teacher  Isaac “Ike” Jenkins, who previously directed Monday Madness .

“As former students, we are paying it forward,” Heidner said. “We have lives that are synonymous with music.”

When City College became remote during COVID-19, the music department began using a network called Jamulus, where musicians were able to all practice and play together online without internet delays. Heidner began publishing both the City College’s Concert Band Jamulus videos, as well as his videos where he both composed and performed tunes on his trombone

Heidner will be conducting the Good Times Band on Nov. 21, for the “Jazz in the Garvin” performance held at the Garvin Theatre. Tickets for the event can be purchased online or at the box office.

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