One in 5000: Mr. Jordan and His Journey to Music


Emily Chen

Francis Lewis Marching band members rehearsing.

Walking down the Music Department corridor, one may hear the marching band loud and clear as they rehearse for their upcoming performance. The sound of the bass drum echoes through the hall as other instruments play along with the beat.  Inside one of the classrooms, music teacher Mr. Jordan instructs his students, making sure their performance is focused and at its best. 

Mr. Jordan is a guitar teacher as well the conductor of the marching and concert band.  The journey to pursuing a career in music education wasn’t straightforward for Mr. Jordan as he originally planned on pursuing a career as a basketball player in his earlier years.

“My aunt, who was a teacher, said ‘you should have a back-up’ because I was thinking about playing basketball,” Mr. Jordan said.  “She said that you should always have a back-up because it is very hard to become a professional athlete, even back then, it was harder actually. I had to go to college and I like music, so why not pursue music? I wanted to learn more so the best way to learn more and to satisfy my parents is to go to a school for music.  That’s how I got here.”

Mr. Jordan’s main instrument is the guitar, but he learned several instruments while attending Queens College for music education.

“I can also play the piano, some drums, and bass.  [In] music education you have to learn how to play most of the instruments on a beginning level so I can play a little flute, clarinet, trumpet, all of the symphonic managements on a beginning level.”

Mr. Jordan tells his students about the importance of committing to a task and knowing whether it is for them. He also stresses the importance of knowing and questioning when you should continue.

“Before I got into jazz, he once told me that if I was going to try something, I was going to try it and then stop it quickly or actually start putting time into it,” senior and band student Jun Ho Lee said. “Either you’re going to spend a little bit of time and then eventually find out that you don’t like it or you’re going to continue doing what you like to do.”

Francis Lewis students have found inspiration through his teaching as well as the music he selects for musical performances.

“He has [inspired] me to learn more about music,” senior and advanced guitar student Paul Pinlac said.

“There are so many people that inspire me,” senior and marching band member Caleb Tsang said.  “The musicians that write the music that I play are all inspirations and the outcome of the combination of success, failure, and hard work.”  

Mr. Jordan motivates his students to strive for their goals while also being aware of areas they still need improvement.

“Mr. Jordan has always inspired me to keep pushing my limits, but to know where I fail so I can get back up and improve,” added Tsang. 

Despite having the possibility of not pursuing music as a career, Caleb Tsang plans on continuing music as a passion and interest.

“I am actually majoring in nursing and minoring in music in college,” Tsang added. “I want to pursue music so I can keep growing. If music is a career that doesn’t [work out], I will always keep playing.”

Mr. Jordan supports his students’ passion of playing music even if they don’t plan on pursuing a career in the music field. He provides them with insight on their troubles and motivates them to continue striving further for their goals.

Music has always been a part of my identity as I grew up,” said Tsang. “I realized I had this talent of learning and relating to music and I don’t want to give up the progress that I have been working on after high school.”

Mr. Jordan believes that through hard work and perseverance, there’s always a possibility that you will succeed in life.

“You should always strive to learn as much as you can about the craft, whatever [it is], because it’s only gonna help you down the road,” Mr. Jordan said. 

Over 5000 people – including students, teachers, staff, and administrators – are part of the Francis Lewis High School community. One in 5000 is a series that delves into the individual stories of the people in our community.