Art “Mr. Bandman“ Osborne brings a melody everywhere he goes as a Music Appreciation teacher for Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA). Educating students and playing gigs on the side, this multi-instrumental musician is making his father proud.
Art’s passion for music came from his father, who played trumpet in many of the top big bands of the 1940s. His dad even started his own band, which played society music in the ‘50s. Art, who started out playing saxophone for that band at a young age, feels he owes his musical career to his father.
Teaching has impacted Art’s love and appreciation for music. He has had training to teach all instruments and plays 15 instruments professionally. He was also a band director for 16 years with Dallas Independent School District (ISD).
Art is beginning his second year teaching Music Appreciation, a class that revolves around the history of music. The curriculum starts with music theory; the students then learn about different music genres, ranging from ancient music to hip hop. Art lets his students explore the many styles and the colorful background of music.
He explains that his favorite part about teaching this subject is communicating with his students about something he loves dearly: music. He enjoys seeing what he calls “that light of understanding” and how the music inspires his students to be involved with the course.
“I have always considered myself a student of music – there is so much to learn,” said Art, who played his first instrument when he was just 8 years old.
Art appreciates the flexibility of online teaching and how closely he gets to work with the other teachers at TXVA. “Everyone helps each other; it makes the atmosphere of teaching much more comfortable knowing other teachers have your back,” he said. “TXVA also gave me the opportunity to be with and care for my wife this last year before she passed.“
Art has even taken his talents to television – his nickname, Mr. Bandman, comes from his hit educational series, Adventures with Mr. Bandman.
The Mr. Bandman character was created in 2000 after Art became an elementary school band director and wanted to create a fun way to recruit students into beginning band programs. The show was an educational entertainment web series for elementary school students to inspire them to play a band instrument by the time they reached sixth grade. In the show, Art took his audience to far–away places and challenged them to explore cultural diversity of other societies through different traditions and music.
The Dallas ISD Television Network noticed Art’s online series and liked it so much they started to air the episodes daily on their network. The show’s popularity grew, and it started playing on ISD TV networks across Texas.
Art then started a website called Mr. Bandman’s Online Lessons and Practice Curriculum so that his students could take music lessons during summer vacation. His website offered beginner band instructions without being in a classroom.
His time spent as Mr. Bandman forged his path to online teaching. “I was ready to retire from being a band director but not ready to retire from teaching,” Art said. “TXVA gave me the opportunity to continue share music with young people.”
Last year Art scored music for a movie called Christmas Isn’t Christmas, and this year, he wrote the original music for the trailer for an upcoming movie titled Pontius Pilate.
At the core of his musical passion is his love for performing live. “There are several things about performing that resonate with me, one being the emotion that you can stir in the hearts and mind of your audience,” Art said. “And there’s the applause – knowing that what you have performed has been appreciated, it’s awesome.”
Watch Art playing the saxophone here.
Art Osborne (center) filming “Adventure with Mr. Bandman” with children.