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Meet Nicholas Gledhill, '15 • Music Performance

Favorite performances at CMU

Fanfare from "La Peri" with CMU brass
CMEA tour with Wind Ensemble
Jean Sibelius' "Finlandia," and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" with Wind Symphony

Additional Degrees

MM, Horn Performance, Colorado State University (2017)
DMA, Horn Performance, The University of Alabama (Ongoing)

Current Position

K-8 Music Instructor (Holy Family Catholic School
Adjunct Faculty (Colorado Mesa University)

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

At Holy Family Catholic School I am responsible for all K-8 Music Education. I teach 8 classes of K-4, two 5th grade bands, the three middle school bands, and two "general music" classes for middle schoolers interested in music beyond band literature. Once I am done there I come to CMU to teach the horn studio! I also have some horn students from the public schools in town. It can certainly be a lot, but I enjoy every minute of it.

What was your first job after graduating from CMU?

Immediately following CMU I actually did a summer counseling position at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. I thought it would be a one-time thing to make a little extra money before starting graduate school. Instead, I ended up returning to Blue Lake for four more summers after that until 2019. In addition to being a camp counselor I was horn faculty for the middle school camp and a performer for the Blue Lake Music Festival, performing with college faculty from around the country. Eventually, I moved up into staff leadership and in 2019 I was a summer administrator, though I never stopped performing in the festival. It was one of the best jobs I've ever had.

How did your experience at CMU prepare you for your career?

Flexibility! Both as a musician and as a professional. At CMU I got the chance to perform with a myriad of ensembles, each requiring a different playing style or character. I actually had a lot more chamber ensemble experience going into grad school than most of my peers! That diversity as a musician transferred to my professional attitude, and I pride myself on being able to adjust on the fly to many situations. From wrestling snapping turtles at Blue Lake to playing in a pop-polka fusion band, I have the confidence to step into unfamiliar territory because of the flexibility I developed at CMU.

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career?

I have had the opportunity to work in various teaching assistant positions during my graduate studies, so gradually shifting perspective from student to teacher was really natural. At The University of Alabama, I was the primary instructor for roughly a quarter of the undergrad studio. I got a lot of confidence as a teacher there, at least as a collegiate instructor. The shift to teaching elementary music was much more jarring. I had spent the last five years teaching college students in various capacities (with some middle school experience at Blue Lake) so changing gears was difficult at first. I certainly had to adapt, but it did not take long to get in the groove of things.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

Take care of yourself. Learn to prioritize and make sure your own self-care is a priority. We unfortunately live in a culture that prizes hard work at the cost of good living habits. Get plenty of sleep. Again, get plenty of sleep. It will make everything else easier. Including studying.

Follow the doorways of opportunity whenever you can, and understand that opportunity won't always present itself to you in obvious ways. This is particularly important when you leave school but also has implications while you are a student. Have a chance to learn a skill related to your field but not the job you want? Learn it anyway. Always consider all the different paths that might diverge from a single opportunity!

Finally, read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. I know there's a stigma around "self-help" books, but this one is really excellent. I did not get introduced to it until after my years at CMU and I really wish I had had it for my time as a student.