When did you begin teaching at UNCG?
I began teaching at UNCG in the fall of 2006. This was my first college job, and I have been here ever since.
What attracted you to the position? Why this university/program? Describe the moment you knew UNCG/CVPA/School was a great fit for you.
I loved the UNCG school of music because it had a wonderful blend of performance and music education. Greensboro is a beautiful city that is just thriving with music and art, has a professional symphony, theatre, opera company, and more. I was so impressed with the facilities, but most impressed with the school of music faculty. We have world class faculty who genuinely care about their students. I knew that the combination of student-centered teaching and commitment to research was perfect for me. UNCG is also known for its community engagement, which is extremely important to me. It means that my music education students have many, many opportunities to teach students in the community and become the very best educators possible.
Favorite course or subject matter to teach and why?
I actually cannot answer this question. It depends on the day. I adore the work that I do in our community partnership because I love working with young people (age 8-18), but then I really love watching our undergraduates students (age 18-24) teaching those young people, so that makes me really excited. To top it all off, I have graduate students who are very experienced teachers mentoring these younger teachers and becoming national leaders. Making music and teaching others to do the same is simply a delight, so whether I am conducting our university orchestra, teaching graduate students how to teach and research, or focusing on getting preservice teachers to become better teachers, I am just happy with all of it and so glad UNCG allows me to do more than one thing.
What makes UNCG, CVPA or your School special? Why do you think students should choose us?
UNCG is absolutely the place to be if you are studying music education. Our faculty, music education, music performance, music studies, are all committed to their students, so if you come here you are guaranteed a student-centered approach. Everyone cares about teaching, and everyone cares about their students. If you want to be part of a strong community focused on making music with people, we are the place to be.
Favorite memory at UNCG?
My favorite memory at UNCG was the first Collage concert. Collage is a concert that celebrates everything within our College of Visual and Performance Art. The very first Collage Concert, hosted by Dr. Geraldi and Dr. Ott, made me so very proud to be a music faculty member at UNCG. The concert featured our orchestra, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, opera program, faculty soloists, Old-time ensemble, African drumming ensemble, electronic music composition program, and more. It was 90 minutes of continuous non-stop musical excellence across many styles.
Advice for future students who want to be successful?
My advice is to be open and willing to work hard. The people who are successful are the ones who display passion and perseverance. They have a goal and they pursue that goal even when they invariable make some mistakes and fail a few times. They key is to get back up and try again.
If you were a student in your program now, what would you do differently from your actual undergraduate experience or what might you pursue that you didn’t?
First, I had a great undergraduate experience and would change very little. There are two things I would do differently: 1) I would practice more. It took me a little while to understand how much practice it took for me to be able to do some more difficult musical passages. I thought perhaps I just couldn’t, but that wasn’t true, I just needed a little more time. I think sometimes I gave up a little too early. 2) I would be less embarrassed when I couldn’t get things correct immediately. I think I shied away from a couple opportunities because I was afraid of failing. Now I just dive right in, and when I make mistakes, I get back up and try again.
Most proud career moment or experience:
I am not sure I have a most proud moment. I tend to feel good about smaller accomplishments like watching my students teach well, or having a good lesson when I know students were highly motivated and engaged. One experience that stands out is a performance that my UNCG students did alongside the community partnership students for Dr. Maya Angelou. We had the opportunity to perform for her and meet her after the performance. That was incredibly memorable.
If you have an intriguing research, collaboration or community-based project you want to share about, please do so in this space.
Some of my undergraduate students were recently funded by a grant to create diverse instruction videos to provide near peer role models for students. We want students to be able to see themselves making music, and playing string instruments. These videos specifically feature diverse people playing and teaching string instruments. We hope that students of different race and cultural backgrounds will be empowered by these videos.
Is there anything else you believe is important and would like to share with prospective students?
There is no better place to study music. Find your way here!
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