For Parents:

Professional Questions for Ms. Q

Questions about SCHS Music

Q:  How long have you been teaching?

A:  I have been teaching music privately and in small groups since 2001 and publically in California schools since 2015.  I have been at Sage Creek since the 2016-17 school year.

Q:  What led you to teach?

A:  Funny Thing.  I never thought I'd be a teacher--let alone to high school students!  Prior to my decision to teach, I worked with developmentally disabled adults in summer camps and as a job coach.  I planned to be a social worker for APS.  After a 2-year break from community college and when I realized how much I missed playing music, I returned to school.  

I still wanted to go into social work, but I felt that I was so limited on how I could help clients.  As I continued in my music classes, two of my teachers and mentors were consistent about telling me how I could be a great music teacher someday (as I played so many instruments well and took initiative in the music programs).  I thought they were crazy.  But I think they were on to something.  I got serious about my school, finished my AA and transferred to CSUF, where I earned my B.A. in Music Education and Teaching Credential.

Today, I don't know how I didn't see this as my path sooner, but I am grateful that my mentors saw it.  After all, my father was a professor of Industrial Arts at CSULB and my sister is a high school English teacher.  I think that teaching runs in my blood.  

It's been a long journey to get me to where I am today, but I never could have imagined having a job and students that I love so much.  Being able to work with these amazing kids is truly a gift and a privilege!

Q:  What is your favorite thing about teaching music?

A:  My favorite thing about teaching music is the community it creates.  Something truly magical happens when a group of people come together and allow themselves to be vulnerable and affected by the music they and others create.  

I love when students learn to embrace struggle and failure as part of the process of learning; and when they play something right for the first time or finally understand a concept for the first time.  Their face lights up and you can feel their love for the music.

Q:  If an instrument is not your primary instrument, how can you teach it effectively in a school setting?

A:  I am a lifelong learner and student.  While I am proficient at many of the instruments I teach, there is simply not enough time to practice every one daily.  I am constantly reflecting on instruments (and concepts) which I could better know, and when I cannot practice the instruments, I research, ask professionals, and look for other resources.  

For example:  String Instruments are among my weakest (on a performance level).  Knowing this, I sought out a master teacher to student teach under during the credential program.  From him, I learned so much about playing technique, the physics of the instruments, maintenance, and tone production.  I have a network of professional string players and instructors to consult when necessary and even take lessons when I can fit them in my schedule.  I also rely a great deal on my students with more experience to model and share with their peers.  While I still have a great deal to learn about them, I feel that our string program is thriving!

Q:  As a parent, how can I support my musician and the music program?

A:  As a parent, you've already done a wonderful thing by empowering your student to participate in music!  Now that we're beginning the school year, you can be of particular help by reading the newsletters that I send out from time to time, and by volunteering for events when I need them.  

Also, during these uncertain times and with some of our funding being structured differently, if you are able to help by donating to our organization, you can help us pay for things like instrument repairs and maintenance, new instruments, sheet music, transportation and fieldtrips (once in-person instruction resumes), and coaching (once the district allows us to hire coaches again).

Q:  How does it work if my child is unable to be in music all three trimesters?

A:  While it is best for all members of the ensembles if students are able to stay in all three trimesters, I do know and understand that many of our students are highly intelligent and take a course load that is academically rigorous.  

If they really wish to participate in a concert (when they are not currently enrolled), they must communicate with me in advance and commit to a certain number of rehearsals (potentially after-school).  In addition, if they are needed more on a part number that they typically don't play, they may be asked to fill in where most needed.

Drawbacks of missing a trimester (or two): 

  • Cannot  participate in leadership

  • Cannot be a section leader or concert master

  • Cannot be a member of Chamber Orchestra

  • Missed Rehearsal time and time with music family

  • Your absence is felt by the entire ensemble (especially when many students miss the third trimester) -- ensembles suffer a loss of instrumentation.

  • You may miss out on field trips & Disneyland

  • I / we will miss you : (

Q:  How can a student be involved in the music program outside of taking a class (if I can’t get it to fit in my schedule, but still want to perform)?

A:  If they are enrolled for at least part of the year, please see the above section.  If the student could not fit music into their schedule at all and still want to be a part of the music program, they may be permitted to perform in concerts if they show intrinsic motivation to fully learn the music on their own and commit to after school rehearsals (for full orchestra performances).

Additional opportunities to play music outside of classes exists in Bobcat Beat (pep band), Jazz Combo, chamber groups like Cello Choir, and in teaching with YLME.  For information on local honor groups in San Diego County and throughout So Cal, reach out to me directly.

Q:  How do you plan to keep music engaging and safe during the pandemic?

A:  While we are still not back to our old "normal", having students rehearsing in person together is a huge step towards that feeling of normalcy and connectivity.  Now that we are back in person, students can once again engage in real-time rehearsals where they must interact and feed off of the energy of their peers in the ensemble.

Because we are still in the midst of a pandemic, I am taking every precaution to keep my students, their families, and myself safe.  This means that rehearsal seatings may not be as traditional as they have been in past years, and for band, as often as is possible, we will be rehearsing outside where the sun is shining and breeze is blowing.

Although we learned a lot of new things about music and technology during our year and a half of remote and hybrid learning, I think it's safe to say that most students (and I) wish to remain in-person for the foreseeable future.  That means taking precautions to mitigate exposure, and possibly even limiting fieldtrip events (like Disneyland) to which the students look forward every year.  The situation is fluid and I will be doing everything I can to both keep students engaged and safe.

In closing, I will constantly reassess the effectiveness of my teaching and if something is not working, I will work to change it so that as many students can benefit as possible.  All I ask in return is that students (and parents) remain open to discovering and trying new things, and constructively communicative when things aren't working for them.  I'm excited for this adventure together and think that there is a great deal to be learned and discovered together.  Thank You for giving me a chance and becoming a part of this beautiful family : )

Have more Questions or Concerns?  Contact Me