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Students spread gift of music

On February 27, 2014

  • (From left to right) Susan Beresko, Andrew Williams, Alton Savage, associate professor and division coordinator of music education and music therapy Edward McClellan, Theresa Foret of Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Daniel Sampson and Emily Macnamara are all part of the music education program at Loyola. DJ SEVERAN/Staff Photographer

Daniel Sampson, music education senior, has 126 different personalities to entertain everyday.
Sampson is one of the five Loyola music education seniors that are finishing up their undergraduate degrees by teaching a full-time music class.
Music education senior, Andrew Williams, teaches students age three to 14 at Stuart Hall School for Boys. He admits that his favorite people growing up were the music teachers who ultimately sparked his love for music.
"I want to be able to do the same to other kids," Williams said.
Music education senior, Alton Savage, teaches a wide range of students at St. Martin's Episcopal School. He teaches middle school chorus and high school music theory, as well as a preschool music class.
"I just sing little songs that teach them lessons about sharing and being polite - things that they can pull from in a real life situation," Savage said.
Savage said he loved school so much, that his second grade self even tried to bring it home with him.
"I stole a piece of chalk from school so that I could play school at home," Savage said.
He said he would always listen to different teachers lectures and put his own spin to it, but he never thought he'd dive into this career.
"I never thought that I'd be a music teacher, but here I am," Savage said.
Emily Macnamara, music education senior, is teaching general music at St. Georgia Episcopal High School. She said she's always had a special place in her heart dedicated to music.
"I've been in love with music for as long as I can remember," Macnamara said.
Macnamara believes this class is an influential tool in deciding whether students should continue the journey of becoming a music educator.
"It's one of those things you have to do to get a sense if you're any good at it," Macnamara said.
Macnamara admits she's a nervous public speaker, but recently got into a teaching "groove." However, she said teaching eight hours and planning a daily curriculum has taken a toll on her.
Susan Beresko, music education senior, said teaching students with different skills is quite difficult.
"Some of the students grasp the concepts really well, while others do not," Beresko said. "It is challenging to teach the concepts effectively and make it easy for musicians of all levels."
Beresko teaches middle and high school students how to play string orchestra, chamber music and solo repertoire at Lusher Charter School.
She said she still can't get over the chills running through her body when her students are engaged in playing their instruments.
"It makes the process so much more enjoyable and rewarding when you see the students really gets into the music," Beresko said.
Daniel Sampson teaches choir at Hahnville High School. He said his advance choir recently sang at Loyola's Chamber Singers recent concert.
He said being an authority figure can be tricky because his oldest students are 18 and he's only 21. However, he's able to maintain a classroom and enjoys getting to know each student.
Although he's "brand spanking new" to this program, he's already seen results from his teaching. According to Sampson, 11 seniors he taught qualify for the honor choir.
"They started crying at the end of the concert because they were so proud of what they did," Sampson said.
He said one student even beat out 12 people when auditioning for a solo performance.
"It was surreal because I knew I taught him that and I saw my kid succeed," Sampson said.
Edward McClellan, associate professor and division coordinator of music education and music therapy, teaches the class with Theresa Foret, adjunt professor of education at Our Lady of Holy Cross College.
McClellan said he gets a sense of purpose teaching the future of music education and wants to polish their skills so they become confident in becoming instructors.
"This is kind of a safety net, myself and teacher assistant give them feedback, but when they graduate that net is gone. I want to prepare them, so no matter what program they go into, they'll become successful," McClellan said.
These five students' post graduate plans range from singing, pursuing graduate school, teaching while obtaining a masters, or performing in the city.
Williams has decided to take a year off from teaching and jump into the workforce for a year or two before devoting his time teaching music professionally.
 "My schedule has revolved around school since I could talk,"
Williams said. "I would love a break from automatically thinking about school starting in September."
Sampson isn't sure if he'll pursue a music education masters. He said he's going to take a year off while perreforming with his band called The Big Nasty and the Broadway Bakers.
"I'm taking a year off and getting a part time teaching job while doing a whole bunch gigs in the city," Sampson said.

Diana Mirfiq may be reached at 

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