1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
My STEP signature project entailed several components in the creative endeavors in the arts. Using my STEP funds, I purchased several instruments that allowed for me to expand my musicianship and gain new skills. Also, I attended the 2015 OMEA Professional Develoment conference in Cincinnati.
2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
Through my STEP project, I was able to grow personally and professionally, as I am a music education major and hope to be a music teacher one day. One of the instruments I purchased was a Bb clarinet. Upon gaining basic skills to play the clarinet, I joined the Ohio State University Band, an open enrollment concert band in the school of music. In University Band, I got to develop technical skills on the clarinet and gain perspective of what its like to play another instrument in an ensemble. This experience was extremely valuable and will directly impact my abilities to be a music teacher.
The OMEA Professional Development conference is an annual music educators convention held in February and is the largest in state professional development opportunity for teachers, students, and performers. At the conference, I attended many clinics and performances and got to make connections with people in my field with whom I will be working. This conference opened my mind to new ways of teaching and broadened my appreciation for my profession and introduced me to music and ensembles I had never heard before, all in three days. I learned that there are so many great ways music can impact lives, and I left ready as ever to pursue this professions of bringing music into people’s lives.
3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
During my time in University Band, I got to interact with musicians with whom I would not usually get to interact. As a music major, I spend most of my time around other students in my studios and music major performing ensembles, but in University Band, I got to be around musicians who are not music majors, but simply love music and chose to continue playing their instruments in college. Through talking with them, I learned about their backgrounds and why they loved band, stories from high school, etc. I always enjoy hearing about what makes people enjoy band and music, as I want to be able to provide my students with as many reasons as possible to love music when I am a teacher. In addition, they were able to lend me many helpful tips about clarinet playing that I otherwise would not received.
At the OMEA conference, I interacted with many of my colleagues including those both teaching and still in college. Connecting with colleagues at a conference personally and professionally is such an important thing because its the only time you get to be with a bunch of people just like you with similar perspectives and goals. Some of the people I really enjoyed talking to were some recent graduates of Ohio State who are in their first years teaching. Speaking to these teachers allowed me to see what my experience may be like in a few years and how I can best prepare for that. I was even offered a band camp teaching job at the conference during the summer.
One of the great things about the conference was the opportunity to see some high quality performances from the finest musicians in the state and beyond. Some groups are from high schools and middle schools in Ohio, others are from colleges. At the convention, I was exposed to the University of Akron’s Symphonic Band at their concert Friday evening. Also, I was exposed to the Mason High School Wind Symphony, of the finest band programs in the country on Saturday afternoon. Seeing these examples of music being made to the highest level inspired me to love this profession even more and be as excited as ever to become a band director.
4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
This transformation was significant in my life because it represented a broadening of my knowledge, skills, and passions for music and teaching. I will always strive to be the best teacher and musician that I can be, and my STEP project helped me to do that with these endeavors. With each experience I have I gain perspective that I can use to connect with students and others through my role as a teacher one day. Hopefully this is only the beginning for me, and I will experience a lifelong adventure of learning.