Kenna’s Blog- Stepping Towards a Future in Music Education

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An Explanation Part 2 April 1, 2009

Filed under: College Hunting — kendel911 @ 10:31 pm

So today was the great visit to Mizzou! I’ve been looking forward to visiting this campus for just about 8 months and now I’m starting to get really excited about Mizzou.

First of all, let me just say that the campus is outrageously beautiful! Secondly, I had my flute lesson this morning with Professor Steven Geibel a very charming person to say the least. I was impressed with all of the different tricks and tips he had for developing tone, being able to reach the highest of high notes and taught me all about hand position. This gave me the chance to really try and understand what the mechanics are of the flute and how it truly differs from any other instrument. The number one thing that I really liked about him was the way he encouraged the asking of questions. Any technique he taught me, I was allowed to ask the question why, how and “would you please explain that again?” This made the experience much more interactive and hands-on. I am fully confident that when I go back to school in a few days, I will have a better tone quality and focus when it comes to really playing the music, rather than just the notes.

Next, I have to send out another really detailed thank you email to Dr. Robert Shay, the director of music at Mizzou. He met with my mom and me and the three of us really got into talking about the music program at Mizzou including scholarships, masters vs. bachelors, student teaching and networking. He also made a point to me of making sure I keep an open mind when it comes to job openings whether I stay in a public school setting or I choose to later on get a doctorate or a PHD in music and then become a professor at a school of music. I was extremely impressed upon entering the room that he remembered who I was from our email exchange and my blog. (yay!) That was just a very nice welcoming feeling to have been given and I appreciate it very, very much. He took the time at the end of our meeting to try and reach Dr. Michael Knight who is the director of the band program and the Marching Mizzou. Shortly after I left Dr.Shay’s office, I received a call directly from Dr. Knight’s office requesting a meeting with him tomorrow morning before I hit the road and go back to Illinois. Wow.

I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited these two campus visits have made me. I know that when it comes down to the wire next year and I have to choose what school I want to attend, I’m going to have a few very difficult decisions to make.

I’d just like to take one more opportunity before I go and take a quickie nap to thanks all of the Professors that have given me large portions of their time over the past couple of days. It was a pleasure meeting all of you, and I’m glad that now I can put a face to the name of the email. I’ll start sending out personal thank you notes as soon as I get home. Thank you all for reading, and I’ll be sure to let you know how drum major auditions turn out for me at the end of this year!!


An Explanation March 31, 2009

Filed under: College Hunting — kendel911 @ 10:38 pm

So, in the first post that I wrote today, I said that I would be explaining why I’m sitting at a computer in Missouri rather than at home. Well, since it’s spring break, my mom and I have hit the road to go college touring.
Yesterday, we were in Bloomington Illinois to visit the one and only Illinois State University. First came the campus tour, and before I had seen the inner part of the campus I was a bit iffy about the whole thing. It was cold and gray, but then we were lead around the campus. It’s beautiful, close together, everyone is super super friendly and the dorms looked alright. (As far as we could see ^^).  And that was just the beginning. After the tour, we were waiting around for my flute lesson with Kim Risinger, the flute professor at ISU. My mom and I decided that if the concert hall was empty, I’d pull out my flute and play a few notes. After all, the concert hall is said to be acoustically perfect. (Jaw drops). As we got there the Symphony Wind Band was just ending their rehearsal, and I was talking to a grad student that eventually led me to the ISU band director, Dr. Stephen Steele.

Now here is where things got REALLY REALLY FUN. I have to send a really great email of thanks to Dr.Steele, he gave my mom and me about 25 minutes of his time without an appointment, even though he was working on his score study for the next rehearsal. He answered all of the questions that I had about the field of music education and made it clear that it is in fact possible to student teach in the Chicago land area. *LOVING THIS!* He also gave me some more insight into the paper that I’m writing for my English project. Once we visited with him, he invited me to come and rehearse and play with the Wind Band after my lesson and until the end of their rehearsal. After saying goodbye, it was just about time to go to my lesson with Professor Risinger.

I couldn’t believe how well this was going already! I hadn’t expected to be introduced to such a friendly, accepting environment! I picked up so much from my very first lesson with Professor Risinger, she truly helped me learn how to compensate for my side embouchure when I play. Most of her tips for me were based on technique, and before I even mentioned visiting with Dr. Steele, he had called her in advance to remind her of my arrival and that I would be playing along with the ISU Wind Band at 430pm. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW. Okay, I need to take a breather,. *phew* I’m just so excited about this campus visit!

Alright, so after the lesson I went right upstairs to go and join in on the rehearsal. The band was working on Blue Shades, Enigma and When Jesus Wept. They placed me next to the first flute player in the section, who warmly greeted me and asked how my lesson was. Okay, then I was REALLY impressed with this director. He had introduced me to the band before I even got there, and then had Mark, the first flute player introduce me to the rest of the band for a second time. And this is my story of ISU. I’m probably more excited about this than you are reading this post, and I’m still in “Oh My Goodness” mode from yesterday. Tomorrow, or whenever I next get a chance, I’ll fill you in on how everything goes after I take the tour of Mizzou and have my flute lesson with Steve Geibel. I’m loving the trip so far, I can’t wait until tomorrow! I know now that I either want to be a Redbird or a Tiger or nothing at all!! =D


The Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert

Filed under: Rehearsals/Performances — kendel911 @ 10:14 pm

Okay, post number THREE in one day! I really don’t like having to do this, I prefer quality over quantity, but I don’t want to risk forgetting everything that I remember from the past couple of months right as I’m getting into “Spring Fever”. (Even though it snowed a couple of days ago…).

This post is mostly a congratulations to my Orchestra directors, Mr. Meyer and Mrs. Wagner. The concert was a huge success and a lot of fun to play. Our repertoire for this concert included three concertos. The first, a double bass concerto featuring Dan Carson. The second, a piano concerto featuring Stella Tu. And last, but certainly not the least, a violin concerto featuring Erica Hudson. Bravissimo! I could’ve listened to the three of you play for hours on end! After a 10 minute intermission, we continued the concert with a Sweeney Todd medley and ended with Scherezade. Although very tiring, I know we did a wonderful job on all of the pieces. So again, congratulations to the fantastic directors of the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra.
As a bit of a sidenote to all seniors in the orchestra, thank you all so much for being a part of my first year in the group. All of you are outstanding when it comes to playing your instrument and you all clearly are filled to the brim with passion for music. I can only hope that you continue on with your studies in music in college and beyond which means hopefully for the rest of your lives. Congratulations for surviving high school and Good Luck on your next part of the journey, no matter where it takes you. ^^


The Junior Research Paper

Filed under: School Days — kendel911 @ 10:03 pm

Hey everyone, I guess it’s just that time of year, but as a Junior in high school I have to get past one really big obstacle before I can move into my Senior year. (Can you believe it?! SENIOR YEAR!!!) This obstacle is not the Dreaded FR7 Question, but it is in fact…. the Dreaded Junior Research Paper.
In order to see that I can manage the highest grade possible on this paper I’m looking for any music educator’s input that might help me with this. I have just met with Dr. Steele from Illinois State University and we had a discussion about my thesis, but I’d like to see what you all have to say. My thesis statement is, “Should general music classes be required for elementary school students?”
All of you music teachers out there are probably either nodding your head very hard, or you’re sitting there just about ready to hit your computer with a sledge hammer based on what you’ve just read. Of course we all know the answer, but the idea for the paper is trying to PROVE this to be true. It’s common sense to most of us, I just need to turn it into a 7 page paper. So please don’t harm your computer and leave a comment with your own opinions and TEXTUAL EVIDENCE that backs it up.

….  Thank you.  ^^


Playing Catch-up/ Walt Disney World Tour

Filed under: Rehearsals/Performances,Tips for Educators — kendel911 @ 9:56 pm

Oh my goodness.

I can’t believe I’ve let this site sit around for so long without so much as letting you all know what’s going on. It’s just been so crazy, I haven’t really gotten a chance to sit down and write a couple of posts. Actually, instead of sitting in my own room at home, I”m sitting at a computer in Missouri (I’ll explain later) passing the time through english hmwk and well…blogging.

So first on the list of things to fill you all in on is Walt Disney World. At my high school I am a part of something called the Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra, which is a combined orchestra of two sister schools. This is an auditioned group that usually only has Sophomores through Seniors. This year, my director, Mr.Meyer had set up a trip for us to take in February to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida for a few days’ time. We only had one performance and the rest of the time was dedicated to going to all sorts of different parks, but here’s a little bit of an inside to the “Disney Magic”.
Our performance went very well with a great repitoire that left the audience wanting us to play encore after encore. We played; Poet and Peasant, Let There be Peace on Earth, and everyone’s favorite, Pirates of the Caribbean. We performed on Disney’s Waterside Stage and had a blast, although we had to be careful so our music wouldn’t be “gone with the wind”. As a tip to any educator looking to take their group to Disney World, I strongly advise that you warn ALL of your performers to double, triple, and quadruple check that they have all pieces of their concert attire. Disney can be very strict about not letting performers on stage if they are missing any part of their attire for the performance.
For the sake of everyone’s time, I will not be going into detail about the stay at the park, (if you really want to know you can leave a comment about it) but I shall move on to another post that I’ve been too lazy and busy to write in the past month and a half. (Yes, that was a contridiction in the last paragraph).


Relay For Life- One Against A Million February 23, 2009

Filed under: Misc.,School Days — kendel911 @ 1:22 am

So, as the title reads this post isn’t really going to be about music education, but it is a stepping stone in learning more about organizing groups and helping individuals come together to form a team.

As a Junior at my high school, I have been a captain for the ACS’s (American Cancer Society) Relay for Life since my Freshman year. Relay for Life is an overnight relay that takes place at my high school every year. The point is to raise money to help find the cure for cancer. Students compile teams from 8-12 people, and each member is responsible for raising approximately $150 in order to participate.

This year, I wasn’t so keen about being a team captain to be perfectly honest with you all, so I looked around within my circle of friends to see if there was a team I could join. However, the groups within my friends had become so exclusive that I was inspired to go out and try something new. First I started talking to two of my friends, Amy Roller and Mike Chan. We  decided that a team should be created that isn’t exclusive at all, so the team I’ve formed this year is titled One Against A Million.

One Against A Million doesn’t only represent those who are battling the odds of cancer, but those who have ever been excluded from a team or are just looking to join a team so they can help support the cause. I have opened the team up to the school and as of right now we have 77 people with over 180 replies still pending. Since there is a maximum of 12 people per team, I have chosen 7 team captains so One Against A Million can split into smaller branch teams. With the rate the group is going, however, I might need to find one-two more captains by our cut-off date, Wednesday February 25th at 4pm.

For the next couple of months, this will be one of my main focuses. I’ll update this post sometime next week once I have split everyone into teams and we have our websites up and running. Please, if you’re interested in donating to the project, visit our web page and follow the instructions to donate to our teams! I’ll update my blog as often as I can to keep you all in the loop!

Our motto: No one will be left behind and the cause will not be buried!!


The Annual Articulation Tour February 21, 2009

Filed under: Rehearsals/Performances — kendel911 @ 3:13 am

Hey again everyone, I know this is my third post in one night, but I really REALLY need to catch up with my site. The next series of weeks are going to be crazy, so I need to get this done ASAP.
Last Friday, all of the upper ensembles at my high school traveled to two of our feeder schools (jr. highs) and played a couple of pieces each for them in order to not only give them a look into the music department, but to get them excited for being a part of the department. Usually we travel to all four feeder schools, but due to conflicts we only performed at two this year.
I participated in three different ensembles during these performances along with the two other flute players in my section of the Glenbrook North Symphony Orchestra. The three of us are all in Choir, Band and Orchestra. First of all, let me tell you how great the audiences were. This is one of the junior high teachers’ favorite performances of the entire year, and watching the students eyes light up when we strike the downbeat to Pirates of the Caribbean is so wonderful, they could probably power a small city.
Every time a new performing group was introduced, the directors would ask those students that graduated from the feeder school we were playing at to raise their hands. It’s weird yet cool to imagine how junior high students have come so far to become first chair players and phenomenal singers.
I reccomend this kind of performance to every high school director out there that really wants to promote their music program. It’s a day of sharing passions and encouraging future generations to share their passions too!! And now, I can sign off of my site for the evening because I do believe my job here is now done. Talk to you all soon!!