Music is a continuous learning process. Talent and skill are honed through years of practice. But no growth will take place without the proper teacher.
Senior Mya Hunt knows this sentiment all too well. She is majoring both in viola performance and instrumental/general education; two areas of study that go hand in hand.
“I want to teach the whole world viola; that’s my life goal now,” Hunt said. “Without fail, it’ll happen someday, so be warned.”
While her passion for education is evident, this was not always the case.
“I actually was not in love with music ed[ucation] until I took intro[duction] to music ed[ucation] here. I realized that I really love teaching,” Hunt said.
There have been many rewarding experiences that have reinforced this fervor.
One of her most enriching episodes was “the first time that I was working in a practicum situation, and I saw that light in the child’s eyes when they got it; they just got something. And it was something so simple, some rhythm thing, but they got it. And their face just lit up,” Hunt said. “I was like, ‘OK, it’s worth it. It is worth all of the struggle that I just went through for the past half-hour trying to teach you this!’ And it’s been uphill from there.”
In addition to practicums, Hunt has developed her skill as an aural skills teaching assistant.
“It’s basically a teaching lab I get paid for. And it’s awesome,” she said. “I have a whole class of freshmen trying to learn aural skills with completely different skill sets and learning styles.”
In this setting full of diversified learning, Hunt has crafted and strengthened a teaching philosophy based on improvisation and practice.
“I took an improvisation class, and it changed my life,” she said. “That really changed my perspective on teaching as well as performing.”
Hunt elaborated that music became a much more personal experience for her.
She was able to see “the change in myself as a musician from that, because I felt so much more ownership of my own muscianship. The music was coming from me and my instrument, not just the page,” she said. “And I want to give that to all my students. Every single one of my students will improvise from day one. It will happen. Even if they can only play one note; they will improvise on that one note.”
Hunt wants her students to leave her studio with the personal control and expression of a true musician. She wants her students to be able to “create whatever they feel is worth creating.”
But this improvisation cannot be perfected without practice, and no one is above the seemingly tedious task.
“One of the things with performance and music ed[ucation] is that they’re so intertwined for me and for a lot of us that are doing both. All of my teaching skills I apply in the practice room,” Hunt said. “When I’m in the practice room, I am my own teacher.”