Before becoming involved in the Thornton Community Engagement Programs (TCEP), Emma Reinhart had never taught a music class. Now as a senior majoring in Saxophone Performance, Emma has taught Adventures in Music, Jazz in the Classroom, and Meet the Instruments. The opportunity to participate has made Emma thankful, especially during Jazz in the Classroom when she introduces scat singing. She is always surprised by the kids’ creativity: “They remember so much from each lesson and it’s really neat to see them incorporate it into their own singing.”
The students always impress her when she finds out about their individual backgrounds and lives outside of music class. “One student asked if we could sing this one jazz song he knew and when I asked him about it, he said he would hear his uncle sing it before he went to jail,” shared Emma. Hearing stories like these has changed her perspective and goals as a teacher. To Emma, TCEP exposes these students to music inspiring them to continue playing even after the class is over. Emma hopes this experience will encourage her students to continue taking music classes as they get older. Emma has also seen increased interest from the school teachers, who ask how they can incorporate more music into their classes.
In addition to the benefits TCEP brings to local students, Emma recognizes the huge benefit that it also provides for the USC students who participate as mentors. This program was a great way for Emma to get involved with teaching at the undergraduate level and she has noticed a definite improvement in her public speaking and leadership skills that apply to other areas of her academic and professional career. Emma says, “I highly recommend becoming a mentor in Thornton Community Engagement because there are so many different opportunities for you to get involved. It’s a truly great experience.”