Walter Dyett


Walter Henri Dyett (19011969) was an American violinist and music educator. As musical director at Jean Baptiste Point DuSable High School in Chicago, he trained many students who went on to become well-known musicians.

After studying music at University of California, Berkeley Dyett moved to Chicago, where he worked in vaudeville orchestras and directed an Army band, after which he was known as Captain Dyett. In 1931 he became assistant musical director at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, then moved to the new DuSable High School as musical director.

His program at DuSable quickly acquired an excellent reputation, in particular through an annual revue "Hi Jinks," which he staged to raise money for the program, and attracted the best high school musicians in Chicago. Among the successful musicians who studied in Dyett's program are:

Redd Foxx was also a student in this program.

Dyett was known for his discerning ear and strict discipline, for encouraging his students to study and play music of all types instead of concentrating on just one, for his ability to motivate his students to succeed, for being a mentor to graduated students, for insisting that all students take private instruction (which he often arranged at low cost), for the thoroughness of his program, and above all for a vast store of musical knowledge which he could draw on to provide new advice to students whenever he met them. He is commemorated by Walter H. Dyett Middle School in Chicago.