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Archive for October 25th, 2013

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Pit Band Director

How does a teacher become a student’s hero? Maybe by being true to her passion for music and being “a player” in the magnificent meaning it has in anyone’s life. Maybe by doing her job and taking charge of being an inspiration to youth in her classrooms. Maybe by helping students see past the notes on their music sheets to feeling how it helps them live their own life more happily and meaningfully.  Maybe by playing with them.

I think our daughter does all these things as a classroom teacher, a music director of youth and adult theater, and a performance artist herself. They all count toward enriching young lives and giving parents, grandparents and general audiences a fresh, new appreciative look at their young ones.

not far from momMother and Daughter Together

One of Kathleen’s eighth grade students recently told her, “You know you are my hero, don’t you?” Then the student told her that she had chosen her music teacher as the subject of an essay. The class wrote about their Michigan Hero. Brittany, the student, chose Kathleen.  She later showed her writing to Kathleen.

Her lead paragraph began,

“Have you ever been too shy or not really sure about doing something new? I was when I began 5th grade; we were learning how to play an instrument. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be any good at it, so I was a little scared. Then I met Mrs. Warriner and she changed my life…”

Kathleen has charge of the total music program of a small town school from 5th grade up through the high school chorus and band. She is in the midst of changing the way the students and the parents think of music as an integral  and rewarding part of their life.  Listen further to Brittney’s writing:

I started to get the hang of the clarinet and was starting to like it. I liked the way the clarinet sounded and I felt good about being able to do something else in my life. Mrs. Warriner taught me to express myself and not to be afraid to try new things. I learned that you need to be positive about things that I am about to try or I will never succeed in life.”

To me, it seems like there is more than music going on here. In her own career, Kathleen faced challenges of balancing her love and passion and pursuit of music with “stuff” that just comes up and needs to be handled. If questions of purpose arose, she always fought on the side of music performance and education being the seed of her purpose, both for herself and in giving it to the world. She returned to school and obtained her Masters. She continued to look, change what needed to and could be changed, and find the music settings where she could continue to inspire and make a difference.

Her student identified with her. “I found out that Mrs. Warriner is like me in some ways. We listen to some of the same music. We are both funny at times….she talks to herself or makes up random words for things.” Kathleen liked that last part.

Kathleen - CMU Marching BandKathleen in the CMU Marching Chippewa Band

Ramana leads us in

In the Old Days, we couldn’t get close enough to the band.

Mom the musicianMom, the Musician

Kathleen built music right into and around her own family structure. Her daughter and son are top performers in chorus and instrument. Kathleen marched in her college band and her daughter, Devon, is doing that right now at her alumnus, Central Michigan University.  As Kathleen’s parents, Tom and I have enjoyed countless years attending performances of every kind from community 4th of July concerts, to high school and college marching, to professional theater. In the pit band, or behind the sound mike, Kathleen “pulls all the strings” for harmony at its best.

 JCS - Pit Band Member directed by mom

IMG_3009Mom, Kathleen, playing at CMU Homecoming with daughter, Devon, with saxaphone

Now there is not a pay grade high enough for any teacher who can instill self-belief in a child at this young age. I don’t remember Self-Belief being offered as an Education Methods class in my own college major. But along with her clarinet case, where ever this student travels, she carries the knowledge of how to compose the most important things in life for herself — stemming from this experience of music.

Kathleen has fun with her students and looks for ways to BE fun with them; she gets them gigs as the pep band in nearby college settings, stirs things up in band camp, and keeps them guessing, never knowing what to expect from Ms. Warriner today. Amy, our six year old granddaughter, is learning piano. One of her songs talks about the teacher’s name being “Mrs. Razzle-Dazzle.”  Maybe that name got coined from peeking in Kathleen’s classroom. She fits the bill.

Kathleen’s student, Brittany concludes her essay with: “I now play in the high school band even though I am in 8th grade. She has taught me to believe in myself….”

Belief in self — that’s a lot to achieve from getting acquainted with the Middle C note through an inspiring and sometimes funny teacher.

Love of Music

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