The Musical Impact of Doug Carmichael

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Hannah Osmann, Staff Writer

Musical notes dance down the halls from the many speakers within Doug Carmichael’s room. No matter what music it is, you can count on Carmichael to be a hundred percent invested in it. From the clarinet to stand-up bass Doug Carmichael can teach as well as play it all. 

Carmichael is the instrumental music teacher at Erie High School and between work and home music never leaves his mind. He teaches orchestra, band, symphonic band, guitar, drums, and plays anything he can get his hands on. 

Carmichael graduated from Erie High School, and even before then he was playing gigs on his saxophone at the early age of 17. He started playing saxophone when he was 10 years old, and has been playing, as well as broadening his musical horizons, ever since. 

“Every time I pick up a new instrument it’s my favorite,” he says. Later, Carmichael can not choose which class is his favorite to teach, saying something similar to what he said about which instrument was his favorite. 

Carmichael started his early musical career playing in gigs across Colorado, but had also coached multiple sports like baseball and basketball. He continues to stay active, playing sports, and riding his bike around Lake McIntosh in his free time. 

“One thing that we all say here  is [that] he’s a kid magnet,” Paul Stecina, a friend and coworker of Carmichael remarks, “Kids like him, the way that he talks, you know he speaks jazz.” 

Carmichael includes all, and never leaves anyone behind, ensuring that you can learn to be a better musician and person. “He’ll take [where] you know you’re at, experience-wise, and he’ll teach you a ton,” Justin Carpenter, a close friend, and coworker at Erie High School says. Carmichael is known to brighten a room and bring joy to someone’s day. “I go in there, he just made learning fun and every kid was having fun,” Carpenter adds. 

Aside from his teaching talents and person-to-person abilities, Carmichael inspires through music, outside of just teaching it. “He is that guy you can– no matter what style of music, you can ask him about it — tell you based on your personality what music you should check out,” Stecina mentions. 

Carmichael inspires many, peers and students alike. “I think the relationships that he’s able to build with his students, [are the kind] that everyone can strive for,” Carpenter says. 

Carmichael is a joy to the students that take his classes and the teachers who work alongside him. He is known as generous and willing to give anything to the betterment of his students. “He’s willing to give so much to kids… We begged him not to because we have ways to do things financially, [but] he’s constantly spending his own money on repairing instruments and buying new music and printing copies,” Stecina says. 

Carmichael lives and breathes music, and outside of his job at school, he plays in more than a few bands. “I’m in like 20 bands,” he laughs and explains how he has almost every instrument except for the French Horn and Accordion. “My wife claims I have an instrument collecting problem.”

Though Carmichael has been playing and working at his musical talents for around 40 years, he says he owes most of that to his teachers in school and throughout his life thus far. “I will be taking lessons for the rest of my life,” he is currently taking lessons on the saxophone and drums, but aspires to take cello and piano lessons come this summer. 

It’s through music that Carmichael can affect so many people, but his impact goes far beyond that and shows those who interact with him the true face behind his disposition. “Regardless of content, just the way that he’s able to connect with kids, break down certain skills, and then get the kind of engaged in what he’s teaching, [it is] like he has a gift for [it] and not many people have it,” Carpenter says. 

Carmichael also shows both students and teachers how, even when different, they can still become what they aspire to be. “He’s showing the kids firsthand that you can be a not perfectly smooth talker and still be a very, very effective leader,” Stecina says. 

“I want to be playing until I physically can’t anymore,” Carmichael says, showing the passion which he thinks is an important lesson that music can give us, “Don’t focus on the little things,” he says, “and appreciate the moment.” 

Carmichael plays for the things that music can teach us, and makes us appreciate in real life. He is constantly trying to grow as a teacher, musician, and person. “You either keep that up until you’re gone out of music, or you quit, and it drops way off,” Stecina says. Later he explains, “Three or five years ago the kids in the band just worshiped him, and it sounds funky to say it that way, but it was like they would do anything [for him].” Many would agree that Carmichael has not reached his drop-off point, and for years to come will be appreciated at Erie High School for his inspiring persona as well as his passion for music.