Back to High School

Author: Bella Ward

This semester, I have started ArtistCorps service in the orchestra room at R.J. Reynolds High School. It wasn't so long ago that I was a string player in high school myself, and I am able to relate to these kids because I can remember what being a teenager is like. For my work there, I lead a sectional with all the violin players of the ensemble while the orchestra teacher works with the other musicians. I really enjoy my work at Reynolds because I feel I have a lot to offer as a mentor. By being able to focus on the violin players, I can pass on the knowledge I have been lucky enough to acquire through my excellent teachers. Most of these kids don't have violin teachers outside of orchestra, so my expertise is especially impactful in this setting.

My experiences teaching at Reynolds have shaped how I look at my future as a musician. I am a performance major, and although I imagine I will always teach throughout my career, I am most excited about performing. As far as I can tell, I share this mindset with most musicians who get highly skilled at their instrument. I think this mindset stems from how society treats teachers. Teaching is an underpaid, undervalued, and exhausting job. When I imagine a better world, I imagine teachers being paid as much as doctors. The field would be highly competitive, and musicians with real chops and knowledge would be teaching young musicians in orchestra. High school orchestra classrooms would be rich ecosystems of growth and opportunity. If arts education was given the funding it deserved, the abundance of talent in public schools could be nourished. In the meantime, through my ArtistCorps service, I hope to give students the same tools I have been given to learn music.

March 18, 2022