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  • Major BA, Emphasis in Music Education K-12 and Vocal Performance
  • Work history Choir Director at Gunnison Watershed School District

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

I have five different choral ensembles grades sixth-twelfth in which I teach music literacy and performance skills to on a daily basis. This involves studying music theory, vocal technique, performance etiquette and of course, the music! We are usually working towards a performance or cumulative project in my classroom.  We hold concerts every quarter and go the Colorado West Music Competition annually.

Outside of the classroom, I teach voice lessons and rehearse for my own performances. I am a current member of crossover male quartet II Divo Colorado in association with Western Slope Concert Series. I am continuing to study voice privately with Dr. Graham Anduri (CMU Professor) and regularly aim to challenge my performing abilities. 

When I'm not doing something music related, I've found great joy in the many different types of outdoor recreation available in Gunnison including hiking, mountain biking and skiing. During semester breaks I find myself traveling regularly and exploring the outdoors. 

Because of the medium size of the CMU Music Department, I was fortunate to have a wealth of performance and leadership opportunities. As a performer, I was able to participate in several different ensembles from classical choral settings to music theatre, opera, operetta and chamber music. I was able to hold leadership positions within CMU’s choirs as a section leader, an overall choir president and an assistant director. Each prepared me in a different way to be a director of my own ensembles and to perform in professional and semi-professional settings.

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

When you’re a student, you’re learning often pedagogical techniques and the theory behind education. Student teaching, you get crucial experience as a mentee in the classroom, but you don’t truly get to discover what kind of teacher you are until you’re the only adult in charge of a classroom. Your first year as a teacher has a very steep learning curve, but it’s an awesome and rewarding journey. 

As a performer, you have to learn how to make and find your own opportunities after you graduate. This may involve starting an ensemble, looking for existing require enduring stress and uncertainty but it’s how much of the world of professional music operates.

What do you think set you apart from the other applicants for your current position?

In both the music and the education worlds, professionalism and the pursuit of excellence can be the difference between being hired and never getting a gig. The faculty of the CMU Music Program gave me all the necessary tools to become a competent musician, but also stressed the importance of professionalism on and off the stage (or in and out of the classroom). They expected me not only to be an excellent musician but also be an extraordinary ambassador for my school and for myself as a professional. Establishing myself as a hard-working, professional student in my school and local community has led to may employment opportunities, including my current position.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

As a music major, you’re learning how to commit, collaborate and work hard as much as you’re learning about music theory or vocal technique. Don’t forget that the world of music and education is very collaborative and that interpersonal skills will get you just as far or further than your musicianship.

Published 11/12/2018

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