The students here at Mustang Middle might not even realize it, but their band instructor Michael Raiber is something of an Oklahoma celebrity. Not only is he a beloved teacher and colleague, but he's also a Hall of Famer.
"Having the opportunity to be recognized by your colleagues is such an honor," said Michael Raiber, Mustang Central Middle School's Band Instructor
Dr. Raiber was inducted into the Oklahoma Bandmasters Hall of Fame.
Dr. Raiber spent his 39-year career perfecting his instrument and inspiring the musicians of the future.
"We're teaching them how to connect with themselves," said Raiber. "It's the moment they are setting the foundation of who they will be."
Teaching 13-year-olds is no walk in the park and deserves recognition on its own.
But incredibly, Dr. Raiber also kept his lesson of self-discovery alive during the pandemic year, spending time helping students build up themselves as well as their musical skills.
"Was it important that someone learns how to play clarinet or is it most important to learn who they are through their music-making," said Raiber.
The cornerstone of Dr. Raiber's method is the “gratitude breath.”
It's how he starts every class.
"Focus on one thing or one person and one place that makes you smile. We breathe in gratefulness, and we blow out what they want to get rid of that day," said Raiber.
It's about helping students move forward from a tough morning, a tough week, or a tough year.
Some might say you won't use band skills as an adult, but there's no doubt Dr. Raiber's students will.