USC and the Thornton Community Engagement Programs were a perfect fit for Kate Crellin, who has always wanted to be a teacher. According to the first year B.M. Choral music major, “The ability to teach music through the Thornton Community Engagement Programs made me choose USC over the other schools I applied to.” Kate feels that being a mentor for the program has helped her grow both as a teacher and as a singer. She reflected upon her start in the program by saying, “In the beginning, I really thought I could never conduct my own choir as a freshman! After training day and talking with other mentors I felt more confident because their passion was infectious. It made me more motivated to do well.”
Despite the motivation she felt after training, Kate still felt a little unsure with her new position with the Science Center JazzReach choir. With time, Kate’s apprehensions dissipated as she learned how to pace the class. She became more comfortable while teaching and began memorizing her lesson plans so she could create a more engaging and fun learning environment for her students. “I get to sing with a bunch of excited fourth and fifth graders—what could be better than that?” asks Kate. Not only did Kate experience her own growth as a teacher, she witnessed a similar transformation in her students. Over the course of the semester her students became more confident and by the end of the semester they shared with her their new joy in learning about music.
Kate’s experience teaching has also resulted in an increase of respect and admiration for her own professors and conductors. She admires the efficiency of her teachers and uses her classes, and rehearsals, as opportunities to observe and learn new teaching skills from USC’s advanced faculty. When asked how these experiences have affected her own performance, Kate replied “Many advantages of being a performer and teacher overlap and have taught me different things. It has been very valuable for my education here so far.”