Chloe David: Landing a dream job teaching music
Bachelor of Music Education, 2016 | Conservatory of Music and Dance
Title: Elementary music educator, Silverthorne Elementary School (Silverthorne, CO)
Hometown: Blue Springs, MO
After graduation, you landed your dream job as an elementary music educator. How’s it going?
Getting and having a job has been a whirlwind of an adventure. I followed a far-fetched idea I had of moving to Colorado, and by some chance have landed in the middle of the mountains. Things are different here, and I’m still getting used to it, but I came here for a change and that’s what I got!
I’m having a blast. I have a very diverse group of students, and I’m starting to realize that Spanish would be a much more practical language for me up here than French…but luckily music is a universal language! I miss Kansas City a lot, but I am still glad I took this opportunity to experience something new.
I’m also incredibly grateful to UMKC and the Conservatory for the amazing preparation they gave me to succeed. I’m a real teacher! That’s still so amazing to me!
“The music education faculty is talented and inspiring, and they are so passionate about making us great educators.”
How has UMKC helped you?
If I’m being honest, I felt a lot of uncertainty during my first year at UMKC. I hadn’t yet sorted my priorities, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get the choral experience I had hoped for in college. But as I began to take courses in music education, I grew up and realized that I didn’t go there to sing in choir. I came here to learn how to teach music, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to do so.
The music education program is amazing—we were in schools, observing and assisting music teachers, by our third year. I spent 150 hours teaching music last year. This experience is invaluable, giving us plenty of classroom experience even before our student teaching semester.
The music education faculty is talented and inspiring, and they are so passionate about making us great educators. Dr. Charles Robinson, my choral music education advisor, regularly told us, “You’re going to change the world.” I honestly got a little emotional every time he said it, and not only because everything makes me emotional. He really made me believe that we did something amazing.
Sometimes area elementary school choirs came to perform for us at UMKC, and I have never left one of those concerts dry-eyed. I feel so lucky that I was part of a program that inspired me every day, and which convinced me that teaching music was the only option for me to live a happy and fulfilling life.
We hear being part of the Conservatory gave you other interesting opportunities.
Yes, singing backup at the Barry Manilow concert Feb. 12, 2015, at the Sprint Center. It was totally the last thing in the world I would expect coming to the Conservatory. It was amazing, and so fun. We even learned some choreography. My parents came to the actual performance – because how could you not see Barry Manilow?
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a UMKC professor?
At the end of my last semester, I was sitting alone on one side of a table, facing four of my music education professors. Super casual, right? Amidst the review of my progress, discussion of the future and shared (horror) stories about middle schoolers, they gave me this piece of advice: “Chloe, you need to get a B.” My first thought was, “Maybe they didn’t hear me when I just said I cried about my first A-.” But I quickly realized that they did hear me, and they understood that therein lies the problem. They recognized that I expect a lot of myself, and maybe bite off a bit more than I can chew sometimes. “Set yourself free,” they said. “Let yourself enjoy education for education’s sake.”
It has yet to be seen whether I will tangibly follow their advice, but I have taken the message to heart: my employers will not look at my transcript and say, “Gee, this A- in Choral Arranging clearly demonstrates a lack of musical competency.”
Who do you admire most at UMKC?
I most admire my roommates. They are all so passionate and driven, and they motivated me to do and be more than I ever thought I could.
I also greatly admire Dr. Charles Robinson, because by golly, he just loves teaching music so much. I hope to be half the educator he is someday.
What is one word that best describes you?
“Indecisive,” because this is a really tough question. I’m just kidding. Probably “optimistic,” because I think anything can be fun, educational and exciting if you give it the chance to be. Including life! Live it up, folks.
What motto do you live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. We’ve been told to be aggressive and be assertive to get what you want, and we’re forgetting to be kind to others and acting mean.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear at this point in my life is failing to live up to the potential that people set for me. It’s stressful to imagine letting people down by not being what they thought I could be—including what I thought I could be! I wish this motivated me to work harder to prove myself, but instead it causes me to be timid and unwilling to put myself out there, especially in musical performance scenarios.
I have to remind myself that I had many instructors who apparently trust my ability to teach children, and that my future students will think I am the pinnacle of musical knowledge. When you’re surrounded every day by other musicians, it’s difficult to remember that you have been studying this for over 15 years, and you really do have an advanced knowledge compared to the general population. I find it most comforting to remember that I chose to study music because it’s something I love to do, and not because I needed to prove my ability to anyone.
Now that I’ve graduated and I’m in my first job, I get to do what I love every day while convincing children to love it as well. What could be better?