Dan Huffman has a 19-year background in instrumental music education, beginning first with the band program at Big Sky High School in Missoula, Montana and following up with middle and high school positions in several Arizona districts and charter schools, including Ben Franklin, Florence Unified, and Higley Unified Schools. Most recently, Dan worked with the Gilbert Public Schools, serving as an assistant band director at Desert Ridge High School and Gilbert High School, and as head band director at Campo Verde High School.
One constant in music education is that it keeps changing, but its basic needs remain the same. Realizing early on that some programs lack funding and support for even things as basic as a music library, Dan turned to his own desire to compose, finding that necessity really was the mother of invention - creating both original pieces and arrangements for his smaller bands during his first few years in Arizona schools. Later, he was commissioned by the Skyline High School Band to arrange their 2006 production, "Batman Begins", and was later commissioned twice more to write original works for Skyline's wind ensemble. Another commission followed, at Corona del Sol High School, where Dan's music was premiered under his direction at the annual awards concert. Upon submitting the compositions to publishers for potential marketing, Dan was told by a source at Carl Fischer Music that his compositions "possessed a rare quality not often seen" among composers of band music. Dan's music is not yet available through a publisher, but it is available from Dan directly in digital format.
Dan continues to seek out opportunities to compose and arrange for high school level groups, and seeks to write for each group as an individual band with an individual set of strengths and challenges. As a composer of original music, he is mostly inspired by film and television scores, and as an arranger, he practices careful attention to detail, minimizing "fluff" or uninspired connecting material in favor of preserving the composer's original intent, while striving to find a balance to make the music accessible to students. Dan enjoys working with students as a guest conductor/clinician, and has the goal of living the value learned in band when he was a student - "sharing the best of ourselves with one another".
Dan offers music copy services to other composers and arrangers, and is happy to assist with large projects, or take on overflow work they may desire to outsource. Dan primarily uses Sibelius, but also works with Finale in preparing scores.
Dan also offers private brass lessons to music students from middle school all the way through high school. As a French horn player himself since the 7th grade, Dan has performed with his own school bands through high school, then a stint with the San Diego Youth Symphony, and with the wind ensembles and school orchestras at the University of Redlands, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Montana during his undergraduate years. Dan also performed for two seasons with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and 4 seasons with the Symphony of the Southwest in Mesa, AZ. He has also done sub work on horn for the Salt River Brass and remains available as a freelance horn player and teacher in the Phoenix valley area.