Bronco Spotlight: Russell Matthews

Bronco Spotlight: Russell Matthews

Bachelor of Arts in music education, 2018

Current Job Title:

Band/Music Teacher

Current Employer:

St. John the Evangelist and St. Pius Catholic Schools 

Describe your current job:

I teach the beginning and advanced bands and k-8 General Music at both of my schools. Outside of my regular school days I also teach the front ensemble at Davison High School and work with beginning band students at Davison Middle School. 

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is the chance to build relationships with so many different kids. I love the fact that I get to share what I love most with my kids and that I get to see so many of them grow over time. The most challenging part of my job so far has been learning to teach in an area that I had not previously trained for.Most of my training is in secondary band/orchestra and a large part of my job is teaching elementary general music.  

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

I worked as many band/orchestra camps as I could over the summers during undergrad and I volunteered/observed as much as possible during the school year. I also subbed when my schedule allowed me to. I took lessons on secondary instruments and got to know as many teachers as possible to learn from them. Most importantly, I learned (and continue to learn) from the colleagues that I went through my methods and other education classes with. This gave me a lot of hands-on teaching experience which prepared me well for both my first long term subbing job at Chippewa Hills and the catholic schools where I am now. 

What advice do you have for students?

My advice for current undergrad music ed majors would be to teach as much as possible outside of your regular undergraduate classes. Work summer camps and volunteer as much as possible. You should also get to know as many people in the profession as possible. Most importantly, you should get experience outside of your native area. You never know what you will actually end up teaching, especially in your first job.

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