Lindsay Brazell

Music Educator and Creative Professional

The Importance of Musical Involvement Outside the Classroom: A Student View

This is a guest post by Bradi Flynt, a current music education major at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

 

I am a 21-year-old student currently pursuing a Bachelors in Choral Music Education.  I’ve been involved in choral music since I was seven years old, having been under the direction of numerous instructors, musicians, and conductors over the years.  While pursuing my degree, I began to reflect on my past experiences and noticed one very influential factor: the impact of teacher involvement in music outside the classroom. 

I grew up in Mississippi and sang with The Mississippi Girl Choir for many years.  I moved to Goodyear, Arizona during my junior year of high school, and I began singing with the Phoenix Girls Chorus.  My years spent in these choirs brought me my fondest memories and greatest musical experiences.  I believe that a large amount of the success of both choirs stemmed from the directors’ musical involvement in the community.

Because of their involvement, the ensembles enjoyed many benefits:

  • More Performance Opportunities
    • Collaborations with State Orchestra
    • Collaborations with other State Choirs
    • Invitations to sing at State University Concerts
    • Invitations to sing at local events
    • Even opportunities to sing with famous professional singers!!!
  • Connections to Great Venues
    • We sang all over the state in some of the most beautiful churches, cathedrals, and performance halls!
  • Connections for Fundraising
    • The more people you know, the easier it is to fundraise. This was an especially important factor for these choirs. Both organizations were non-profit.
  • Connections for Trips
    • Both choirs were known for travelling throughout the United States. Phoenix Girls Chorus has toured in Italy, Spain, Germany and more. The Mississippi Girl Choir has toured in Italy, England, and Australia.

 

Most importantly, the students experience the best form of leadership from their director. 

As a student, it was great to experience my own musical growth while having the opportunity to watch my instructor grow as a musician as well.  My instructors inspired me, showing me that you can always improve your skill, and that your growth doesn’t stop after you receive your degree.

My high school experiences were very different.  I enjoyed my time spent in high school music programs, and had many wonderful teachers.  However, none of my high school directors were very involved musically in the community, and if they were, they did not talk about it in class.  I had one instructor who was very passionate and a skilled pianist, often playing for us.  She also allowed some of her past students to come in and perform for us on occasion.  I think this was a good compromise for involvement outside of the classroom.  She still showed us that there was music to be made outside of everyday choir.  Other than that, some teachers sang in their church choirs, but they never encouraged their students to come hear them sing.

There is something about seeing your instructor grow musically. It is one of the greatest ways to inspire your students.  My high school directors never had this factor, and if they did, we could have had more opportunities as an ensemble.

We must remember that we are teaching music.  We should be the best example of musical excellence for our students.  How can we accomplish this if we don’t continue to better ourselves musically?  We always stress the importance of improving our teaching skills.  We attend state conventions on music education such as ACDA.

There are many ways to get involved and continue your musical growth outside your classroom.

  • Join a civic chorale
  • Learn a new instrument
  • Get involved with a church music program
  • Join a local musical theatre group
  • Get involved in your local opera program
  • Don’t limit yourself! Form your own ensemble!

I learned a lot from my high school directors.  They had a great impact on my life and contributed highly to my musical growth.  However, I am now growing as both a musician and an educator and am beginning to form my own philosophies.  Continued personal musical growth is very important to me, and based on my past experiences I know that implementing this into my own practice will greatly benefit both myself and my future students.

 

 

Bradi Flynt is a Junior Choral Music Education major at the University of Southern Mississippi.  She sings with the University’s Concert Choir and the women’s a cappella group, The Southern Belltones.  She grew up in Clinton, Mississippi, but moved to Goodyear, Arizona.  There she graduated from Desert Edge High School in 2015.

 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleysphotography136/

About Lindsay

I’m Lindsay, a choral music educator by day, a singer-songwriter by evening, and a writer when time allows. You can find my latest album, The Room I Found – Lindsay Morelli on iTunes.

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