Steve Edelman credits Pima Community College for his mastery of the structure of a melody as well as the structure of the human body.
One of the first graduates of the college’s music program in 1972, he returned 20 years later for nursing education. He still works as a musician, but his “day job” is as a Nurse Practitioner at Desert Pain and Rehab Specialists in Tucson.
Edelman’s musical chops have earned him a place in the Tucson Musicians Hall of Fame, which unveiled its new home at the Tucson Convention Center on April 12.
“The music milieu of New York City in the 1960’s was my first school of music, I started visiting a local Friday night folk music center and discovered I could imitate most of what I saw and heard on guitar and banjo. It wasn’t too long before I was performing in New York with folk and rock acts. I also played bass for jazz combos at various weddings and confirmations.”
In Tucson, he decided to enroll in Pima’s music program with the first “classroom” at the old airplane hangar that was the college’s first home, and later, at West Campus.
“The program gave me the chance to learn about music structure, theory, and composition as well as performance in difference settings. I learned how to conduct. I learned to sight-sing and how to maximize voices. The hangar was like a big 1960’s party where self-improvement was the focus. People from different programs were able to mingle and learn from each other. That was the essence and beauty of Pima College taking its first steps.”
Although he has continued to perform locally, his better-paying gig has come from nursing.
“I decided to shift from music to health care because my wife and I had kids in their teens and we all needed stability. My wife already had a career in health care, so I opted to do so, too. Pima had a clear and affordable pathway toward becoming an RN.”
What stands out in his educational experiences at Pima Community College?
“The approach to problems by studying their structures has to be the single most important thing I gained from my Pima College experiences. Pima allowed me to re-evaluate changing life situations. Without that, I likely would not have been able to pursue the life pathway I did.”