TRIBUTES & QUOTES from students of DENNIS HAYSLETT continued.
To me, Dr. Hayslett is the epitome of the “Renaissance Man.” Not only has he been blessed with incredible knowledge and intelligence, but he has the energy, work ethic, and discipline to put it to work. He’s never afraid to ruffle a few feathers to do what’s right.
- Justin H.
I always felt that his unique process of “Implicit Learning” vs. “Explicit Learning” was groundbreaking. There were so many times in rehearsals when he was approaching a concept in a totally novel way, and then I suddenly realized, “How did he get us to do THAT?
” He managed to sneak in so many lessons “through the back door” that sometimes we didn’t even know how good we were getting!
- Summer K.
Hey – I was VERY afraid of him! He kicked my butt unmercifully! I really didn’t appreciate all of this until probably 10 years later, when I realized that I learned SO much from him! I guess I wasn’t as afraid OF him as I was afraid of disappointing him. His high expectations have set the standard for my entire career. My own children are excellent students because we have strict expectations, just like DH had with me!
We never realized how funny he was because I think we were afraid of him. But I agree – we were mostly afraid of disappointing him & his high expectations. It wasn’t until YEARS later when a bunch of us took him out to dinner that we saw his non-teacher side! He is hilarious! He should be doing stand up comedy!
- Cathy V.
He took the Marching Band to a Dallas Cowboys game. Before we went on at halftime, Dr. Hayslett was calmly standing near me on the sidelines with his hands behind his back like he always used to do when he was expecting something important to happen. Just as the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders came running past us onto the field he said (kind of shouting under his breath), “Send in the Fem-BOTS!” just like Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers – I though I was going to pee my pants I was laughing so hard!
- Heather G.
I can’t remember all of his famous quotes, but I know one for SURE that you will NEVER hear Dr. Hayslett say: “Don’t bother practicing - that’s good enough!”
- Kate C..
I was Dr. H’s Graduate Assistant for 2 years. We all went to the MidWest International Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago - the absolute BIGGEST band/orchestra convention in the WORLD – like 30,000 people there. We were in the exhibits, and I remember not being able to walk 20 feet without someone calling his name, stopping us to shake his hand, coming up to say Hi, hugging him, etc. It seems like EVERYBODY knows who he is! So many teachers are his former students (or STUDENTS of his former students)! I was totally amazed at all the people who know him!
- Jess T.
My wife and I met him at The Berghoff restaurant in Chicago. As we were sitting there, my wife heard the people at the table behind her saying, “That’s Dr. Dennis Hayslett!” It was like they were spotting Madonna or Brad Pitt or somebody! No paparazzi, however! But I agree - it seems like everyone knows him from his conducting and performing all over.
- Marcus L.
I know, right? I got to be his escort/assistant when he conducted in California. I took him to San Francisco Airport for his flight out and 3 different people called out to him and came over to say hello to him! Then, we walked past a terminal bar, and two guys called his name from the patio outside the bar. They were music publishers. We walked over and they bought us both a drink! Everybody knows the Doc!
- Antonio G.
I’m going to cry while I’m thinking about this – my Mom passed away when I was a sophomore. As soon as Dr. Hayslett found out, he came straight to my dorm at 7:00 AM and wordlessly helped me to pack a bag, which he then carried out to his little red Corvette (Remember? Like the Prince song!). He came back in, took me out by the hand, pushed me into the Corvette (which everyone in the band wished they could ride in), and drove me 115 miles to the airport. After we parked, he went to the ticket counter with me and PAID for my ticket home, since I didn’t have any money. He carried my bag to the concourse while I limped along beside him in tears. At the security checkpoint, he gave me a hug and $50 cash, and told me to call him if he could do anything else. I didn’t know what to do ... except to cry on his shoulder. I got home and found that he and the entire band had sent flowers to the funeral home. Later I found out that he sent a huge donation in my mother’s name to the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Network. I know he did this for so many ... we don’t even know – he always wanted it to be anonymous.
- Allissa D.
I thought I was going to have to drop out of graduate school after my first year because I couldn’t afford it. I mentioned this to Dr. Hayslett. Three days later, I got a letter from the registrar’s office saying I was registered for the next semester and my tuition was fully paid! What the ... ?? Only later did I find out that he paid my tuition out of his own pocket. He said “The best investment you can make right now is in your own education. Just consider this an interest-free loan. It’s an investment in YOU. Pay me back when you have it.” I went home and told my wife and she broke down in tears. It took us five years, but we eventually paid him back - and took him out to dinner!
- Jay N.
I know we’re all talking about his work ethic and discipline that he transferred to us, but man, what about the MUSIC itself??!! I’ve NEVER had as many thrilling moments either playing or listening to things that he conducts! The expression and musicality are always incredible – I always get goosebumps! This is what music-making is all about! It’s always honest and heart-felt and perfect!
- David J.
At the end of very intense three-hour rehearsals, when he could sense that we were getting tired, he would often say, “Reach down inside of yourself and get more! Don’t allow yourself to only give 95% just because you’re tired. Ninety-Five percent IS NOT ENOUGH!” He would never let up for a minute – but he never let up on himself either!
- Ashley R.
I was always amazed at his incredible ears! He could hear anything! Lots of incoming freshmen with big egos who weren’t used to being corrected always hated it when he would stop the band, look right at them, and say, “You played a D natural instead of a D flat – fix it, please.” And he was ALWAYS RIGHT! How did he do that? It was amazing!
- Russell J.
We just didn’t get most of it while we were there - it went over our heads. It wasn’t until later that we realized what an extraordinary experience it was to play in one of his bands.
- Janelle B.
He always wanted us to focus on the pursuit of excellence. He always said “Carry it with you - fall back on it ... in whatever you do”
- Steven M
If you are EVER on the TV game show “Cash Cab,” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” he is definitely the guy that you need to call for your Shout-Out! His profound knowledge of arcane and obscure facts is amazing! I hear he really kicks ass at Trivial Pursuit!
- Pamela V.
I always remember him saying, “Anyone can practice until they get it right. A true winner practices until they never get it WRONG!”
- Eric M.
“Education is a progressive discovery of your own ignorance.”
- Yolanda M.
Anytime someone complained that something was hard, he would say, “If it was easy, ANYONE could do it!”
- Abby H.
Just watch the movie “Rudy,” and you will understand everything about Dr. Hayslett’s “work ethic” approach to the pursuit of excellence.
- Melissa McM.
Speaking of movies – I’ve always felt that Dr. Hayslett is a combination of Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) from “Hoosiers,” Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) from “The Natural,” and Dr. Larch (Michael Caine) from “The Cider House Rules.” Especially Hoosiers ... think about it, it’s true!
- Jessica P.
Yes – I agree, but to ME, he was always just like Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid!” It was his “Implicit Teaching Method!” He used so many ingenious methods to get the material across to us! For instance, he would have you work really hard on something that you THOUGHT was totally unrelated — just like in the movie — painting the fence or waxing the car (wax on – wax off!). The next thing you knew, you could play that awkward rhythm, or you could suddenly double-tongue, or your high range had increased by a third. It was SO amazing!
- Julie F.
The man is so brilliant that it's scary at times. If you didn't understand, you were just not listening closely enough and using your brain to process the information. On top of that, his baton was somehow magic! We learned so much about the music, about the structure, about the composer, but when we performed it, it was never stale and academic! It was always full of electricity and emotion. Magic!
- Brett S.
I have watched this man work for many years since he was MY teacher. His hard work and brilliance has created so much excellent music-making. Every band he has stood in front of has become SO much better. And we’re talking here about some of the best bands in the nation! When I think of Dr. Hayslett, I always think of an individual who is totally inspired, creative, talented, but also determined, hardcore, old-school, and single-mindedly devoted to perfection! Someone posted it earlier, but it was that philosophy that was there for us every day (and posted on the door in case we ever dared to forget it!) — “Results, NOT Excuses!”
- Kathryn H.
I pulled this gem out of one of my graduate notebooks and made a poster out of it that I've always had on my office door: “If the information seems to very cleanly answer every question and totally close the case, there just might be something wrong with it. True knowledge doesn’t always close the door on the question. Many times it opens the mind to new questions and possibilities.” Dennis Hayslett, Learning Theories — Feb. 7, 1998.
- Maria M.