To quote the great Rita Pierson, “Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be”.
This quote resonates with me and my experiences as a young musician. I began playing the flute in 6th grade. From watching the high school marching band at competitions, I knew that I wanted to do band! However, when I began the band, I had little to no motivation. In my mind, I was just an average 6th grader with nothing special about them. I was fortunate enough to make the middle school honor band, but didn’t put forth much effort. I didn’t bring my music, and ended up not being very successful. Finally, it was time for my 6th grade band director, Lorrie Turner, to have a conference with my dad. I will never forget what she said to my dad about me. She told my dad that if I put forth the effort, I have the potential to be the best flute player at my high school. That resonated with me, and gave me the motivation I needed to succeed. I had found the adult to be my champion.
During my sophomore year of high school, I decided that I wanted to become a music educator. I wanted to be a student’s champion! Throughout my high school and college years, I worked hard and ended up graduating with a Bachelor’s in Music Education with a Flute Performance Certificate in 2018. I would not have been as successful without someone to be my champion. Now, I’m a successful musician, educator, and currently completing my Masters in Music Education degree from the University of Florida.
Over the years, my philosophy of education has changed. I am passionate about continuing to be a champion for my students. However, I want to be their advocate and provide equity to all students. It is my belief that music education is vital for a well-rounded educational experience. Music instruction helps each student develop personal character skills. This is needed to continue to shape the future leaders of our country. Without music education, it is my belief that students aren’t receiving the education they deserve.
This is why I joined the Professional Development Roundtable for Practicing Musician. Practicing Musician is dedicated to providing equitable opportunities for students in music. The vision of Practicing Musician is to have every person everywhere engaged in music, no matter their race, socioeconomic situation, or personal situation. That is my vision too.
Through individualized instruction, the goal of Practicing Musician is to provide students with an individualized music education experience. Individualized instruction is the key to success in music classrooms. When we individualize instruction, we maximize our instructional time. I am working on providing this type of instruction in my middle school band class. My plan to change this is to implement Practicing Musician in my middle school band classes. By incorporating this platform, I will be able to provide individualized instruction and meaningful feedback to all.
I’m excited for the opportunities that Practicing Musician has provided for me and my students. I am looking forward to continuing to grow as an educator and professional through this experience. Please join me in the movement to continue to provide equity in music education!