Humans of Loyola: Look inside the life of Kate Duncan

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Humans of Loyola: Look inside the life of Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan, associate director of the School of Music Industry poses for a portrait. Photo credit: Sofia Santoro

Kate Duncan, associate director of the School of Music Industry poses for a portrait. Photo credit: Sofia Santoro

Kate Duncan, associate director of the School of Music Industry poses for a portrait. Photo credit: Sofia Santoro

Kate Duncan, associate director of the School of Music Industry poses for a portrait. Photo credit: Sofia Santoro

Sofia Santoro

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Inspired by the Humans of New York series, psychology sophomore Sofia Santoro started an experimental project that involves taking portraits of professors, followed by a brief interview. This project became HOLoyno.

Professor Kate Duncan, extraordinary professor, Popular & Commercial Music and associate director for the School of Music Industry, was more than willing to be a part of the series that is Humans of Loyola. After I sat down for an interview with her, I got to see a different side of her through a new lens.

What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not teaching?

Being in or around bodies of water, going for runs, listening to too many podcasts, going to see musicians do their thing, ogling cute puppies (only the scruffy kinds) and baking.

 

What’s your astrological sign?

 

Aries: first in the chart and a fire sign. Surprise! And a Cancer moon clearly I’m not into astrology at all.

 

Who is your favorite artist(s) to listen to?

 

That is going to shift with the strong winds. The forever plays are: Kurt Elling, Sara Bareilles, The Punch Brothers, Hiatus Kayote and Missy Elliot. I’m also jamming to Charlotte Day Wilson, Tank & the Bangas, Green Balloon, Cold War, Anderson Paak and Gregory Porter. Basically if someone can break my heart musically, I am forever theirs!

 

When did you realize you wanted to teach what you teach? And why to college students?

 

I never really had a lightbulb moment. I was honestly just pushed in that direction by whatever energy there was in the world. I’ve been teaching for 10 plus years now and have taught people in age ranges from five-years-old to 76-years-old. I think college is where I can make the most impact on both the people who make music and the music they’re making. I love working with students who are on the precipice of the real world; we can experiment with what truly works for them as musicians and what doesn’t. We’ve created an environment where they can use the department as a musical laboratory without true life or death consequences. But the reality of crafting a truly meaningful life through their art pushes the students to hopefully take risks and go farther with their art than they think possible.

 

When and why did you become a professor at Loyola?

 

I started teaching as an adjunct — vocal jazz ensemble in spring 2015. I had previously been helping Loyola College of Music & Media students as their dedicated career coach, but making music has been in my blood from the get-go and one can only ignore that knock on the door for so long before the knock gets rougher! In complete honesty, I don’t teach for the love of teaching. I’m sure most in my department see how much admiration I have for each one of my students and that is what keeps me moving forward. But I also teach to make sure music remains artful, impactful, well-crafted and magical. Simply put, I want to help people do what I do, expand and challenge people’s knowledge base and ensure that good art continues to be made.

 

In a different life, if you weren’t a teacher what would you want to do as a career and why?

 

Is it possible to be an avant-gaurd, high-end, pastry chef, national park ranger-lawyer? Is that a job?

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