Getting to know the MFE Scholars
Continuing Music For Everyone’s tradition of providing music to all in Lancaster county each year MFE provides seven, $2,000 scholarships to Millersville University Music Education majors. In exchange for that scholarship the recipients volunteer at a school supported by MFE. Featured below are two MFE scholars, Andrew Swartz and Cecilia. Currently the two scholars are assisting in teaching recorder and other instruments before school at Buchanan Elementary.
Andrew Swartz’s music journey started when his parent’s had him take piano lessons as a young child. His father was one of his biggest influences in music. Being a pianist himself, he wanted Andrew to learn how to play. This parental encouragement caused the young Suzuki method child to begin a strong work ethic that has transferred well into his music education major. Now Andrew is also proficient in trombone, saxophone, and his main focus is percussion.
With his roots of strong family influence, Andrew sees music as a “community thing”. He sees that more people can do music, whether it be playing or enjoying. Andrew also loves the “feels” of music. There is a value in experiencing a piece with a group of people through the process of learning, performing, and enjoying a piece.
What Andrew loves about music is that in that communal learning process there is a direct reflection of the time a musician puts into their craft and how they perform. It is easy to see the progression overtime in the development as a musician continues to work and improve. But his music education major comes at a price. Music ed majors have a packed schedule. Between rehearsals and practicing there is not really much time for anything else. Music is a seven days a week major. While Andrew does not always agree with teaching methods used, as a student he cannot correct his mentors. Another difficulty is always staying healthy. Like an athlete, musicians have to stay in shape and try to avoid carpal tunnel (particularly as a percussionist), hearing loss, headache, and general fatigue. Andrew also mentions that it is important to make time for yourself to keep a good mental attitude.
With all these things in mind Andrew continues on because he wants to get better and be a good player. He also recognizes that if he teaches high school there is a very real possibility he may come across a student who is better than him and he wants to be able to teach that student the best that he can. Also once a musician starts teaching there is not much time to practice so right now, Andrew has the time to become the best he can.
Andrew became a music education major because he wants to teach music, but he also knows music can take you anywhere. As a personal charge he sees himself as responsible for educating students and believes he owes it to them to give kids the opportunity to see what music can do for an individual as a person. Upon graduation, Andrew wants to teach elementary students because he wants to get kids hooked on music when they are young.
Cecilia Cooper is a cheerful woman with a clear passion for music, especially music education. Cecilia, a Reading Pennsylvania native, comes from a long line of music educators and teachers and she “couldn’t imagine doing anything else”. Similar to her fellow MFE Scholar she began with piano lessons at a young age, but like many young children she never practiced. Now she plays violin and her concentration is voice.
Being an MFE scholar and music education major Cecilia loves to teach her students all that she has learned at Millersville the last two years. As a freshman, she realized how much she did not know about music and loves giving other kids the head start she did not have. She also just loves teaching. While it was scary to be in the classroom for the first time, she loves seeing the impact music education has on her students.
Cecilia also recognizes the difficulties in being a music major. She says that you can never practice enough. With homework you can complete it and be done, but when you do not do as well your mind goes to “I should have practiced more”. This creates the notion of “I should be practicing right now”. Cecilia is learning that it is ok to sometimes not be practicing. She also says that vocal health is especially important for her, and sometimes trying to stay healthy is a struggle. Like all college students she is concerned about her future and her future career.
Through all the struggles Cecilia loves to see her own improvement. She also wants her students to look up to her as a teacher and a musician. All the practicing will pay off in the credibility she will gain as an educator and a musician. Cecilia chose music education because her friends hated music class and she wants to be the music teacher kids deserve. She loves kids, particularly little kids, and wants to be an elementary music teacher. Cecilia’s main desire is to make music a good experience for her students.