TRIBUTES & QUOTES from students of DENNIS HAYSLETT continued.
“Do you know what’s MUCH worse than having high expectations and never reaching them? Having low expectations and REACHING THEM!” - Pat J.
“SPIN the air! Spin it! SPIN IT!” - Chris G.
Dr. Hayslett has been a lifetime teacher for me. Although I finished up my doctorate years ago, he is always there to take my calls and answer my questions. I can’t even recall how many hours he has spent on the phone with me, helping me with whatever problems or issues are plaguing me at the moment. - Elizabeth F.
My room-mate Michelle and I ran into him at a Big Boy restaurant the night before a graduate Music History final, so we joined him for a cup of coffee. Within the course of the conversation, we happened to ask him if he knew anything about the historical development of the Canzona, since it was a huge part of the next day’s exam. Two pots of coffee and an hour later he had taken us through an extensive lecture on the evolution of the Canzona throughout music history. Thank God Michelle was taking notes on napkins, because we used HIS information and we both aced the exam. We learned more from him in an hour than we learned from our Music History prof (who will remain nameless) in an entire semester! - Lynda E.
“OK folks – you know the drill ...” - Tom B.
Who remembers when he always used to reverse everything to see if he could trick us? Big meant soft, small meant loud, etc. I have NEVER watched a conductor as closely! At every concert I felt SO ready to play my best! - Jennifer C.
After a really poor rendition of a passage, he asked Brian Travis how old he was. Brian said, “Twenty-one.” D.H. paused, looked over his glasses and asked, “Do you want to live to make 22? ... Then PRACTICE the part!” LOL! - Allison McD.
So many times I watched him take students who I thought had no chance and totally restructure their embouchure, their technique, their articulation, etc., until they could succeed. He could teach ANYONE , as long as you were willing to do what he told you to (or he would KILL you!). - Dustin H.
I’ll never forget the cute way he used “Were you there last night?” to teach how each accent can give a phrase a whole different meaning. lol I still use it to this day to teach my own students! - Amanda N.
WOW! I would say “Blast from the past!” but that’s not true because I still rely EVERY DAY on the things that I learned from DH! He totally distressed and traumatized me by working me harder than anyone (and I hated it at the time), but man, has it paid off in my life and career. His lectures about excellence, his adherence to discipline and hard work – if everyone had a teacher like Dr. H the world would be a better place! Blessings to you and your family Doc! Hope you read this! I’m praying for you and yours! - Robert P.
I remember when he would walk through the lobby at The University of Toledo and chase students off the sofas and shoo them into the practice rooms! He would always say, “You don’t have the time to loaf around! Every minute is valuable – you can’t AFFORD to waste time!” Then he would always say, “NO MOANING! Get to work!” ha ha We hated it, but we knew that he really cared about us. - Jason D.
Someone once mentioned to him - “Dr. Hayslett, you really think outside the box!” He replied, “Outside WHAT box?? There’s a ... BOX??? Where IS this box of which you speak?” haha! That was so typical of him! ... So we made up a band T-shirt that said in big letters “There’s a ... BOX???” Below that in small print it said “Dr. Dennis Hayslett” and the date. Everyone bought them. Even the Dean had one! - Lindsay L.
It’s strange, but in all my years under him I NEVER heard him curse (although he probably had a million reasons to! lol), but just getting that piercing look from him over his glasses was worse than ANY curse word he could have used. - Kathy M.
If you screwed up and he looked over his glasses at you and said, “Oh, Goodness Gracious,” or “Holy Moly!” That was worse than any curse word! - James McD.
I too, have never heard him curse, but the closest thing to profanity that I ever heard him say was one time when I sat with him as a college intern observer during a semester woodwind jury session ... after one unprepared saxophone student played, he looked over at me with one of his famous “raised-eyebrow” looks (over his glasses, of course!). Then he called the student over to the exam table and asked him, “Did you hurt yourself pulling that out of your butt?” I was laughing so hard that I had to leave the room! He is sooo priceless! - Jen S.
I can’t remember how many times we heard him say, “Hey, I just pump up the tires, it’s up to YOU to ride the bike!” I always use that myself! lol - Stacy D.
“The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence.” - Kim R.
“Talent without discipline is WASTED!” - Amy A.
“Results, Not Excuses” - Tom S.
“A thing is only impossible until it’s not.” Didn’t he used to have that posted on his office door? - Robert DiL.
I remember the joke sign that was over his desk, behind his head — it said in green letters, "I'm not deaf, I'm ignoring you!" He would just point at it if someone started to whine or complain about how much work they had to do. Also, if there was something wrong with your grammar or sentence structure, he would always point at his sign that said, "English Spoken Here." hahaha - Brian T.
Remember when he would say, "I'm actually laughing on the inside!" whenever someone was failing at being funny? Hee Hee! - Tanicia O.
Back about '97 or '98 he was in training for another marathon (it seemed like he was ALWAYS training for a marathon!) during the time he was also presenting a conducting clinic at M.E.N.C. in Phoenix. A bunch of us who were there for the convention went out to rollerblade along with him while he did a 20-mile training run around the city of Phoenix ... at 6:00am (20 MILES! Whew!). I think about 6 or 7 of us started out with him, and by the time we got to about 15 miles, only 2 of us were left. Eventually, we were just too pooped to keep up so we all skated back to the hotel and waited for him to come in. He came cruising in, looking fresh as a daisy! I was amazed that a bunch of 20 year-old college students on WHEELS could not keep up with someone nearly twice their age on FOOT! He presented his clinic later that afternoon, and then went out to dinner with all of us – we were still TOTALLY exhausted, but he was bounding up the stairs two at a time! I never knew where all of his energy came from! – Christa T.
He never expected us to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself! He was always the first to arrive and the last to go home. If you walked across campus and saw his office lights on at 11:00 PM or 5:00 AM, you knew you could knock on his door and he would be happy to meet with you to help you with some issue. I looked out of my dorm room once and saw him in running gear at about 5:30 AM. He was going into the music building to use the water fountain. I zipped over to talk to him about some problems I had with getting credits transferred. He spent an hour going through my transcripts, and then he took off out the door to continue on his morning run. He was back in his office at 8:00 AM (and he was ALWAYS wearing a shirt and tie – am I right?) ready to meet with the Dept. of Ed. to transfer my credits. I still owe him a few drinks for that favor! – Steve A.
This isn’t a music story, but ... When I was in college, 3 or 4 of us entered a 10k race, thinking we were real studs. At the race, we saw that Dr. Hayslett was warming up at the start, so we went over to talk to him and to tell him to meet us at the finish line. Well, needless to say, at around the 2 mile mark, he cruised past all of us, smooth as silk. He patted me on the back when he passed, and said, “Don’t hurt yourselves, boys!” He then FINISHED the race, grabbed a Gatorade and jogged BACK along the course to meet us! He found us struggling along at about the 5 mile mark, and he turned around and ran along with us, encouraging us all the way. We could barely breathe, yet there he was, having already knocked off a FAST 6.2 miles — PLUS another mile or so, and he wasn’t even working hard! He was carrying his Gatorade in one hand and talking to us the whole way! We knew that he had been training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but we had NO idea that he was THAT fast! He literally got behind me and started pushing me as we approached the finish! Than he sprinted past us and finished the race ahead of us for the SECOND time! I’ll never forget how much that humbled us! Especially since my then girlfriend was waiting for us at the finish line!! - Mark S.