Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight: Mikaela Brown
By Allison Whisnant
Our fourth Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight is Mikaela Brown. She was initiated into the Epsilon Iota chapter at Mansfield University in 2015. After completing her degree, she began her career at Oxford Academy High School in Oxford, New York. She is the high school director which includes teaching concert band, jazz band, music theory, and marching band. While her high school is grades 9-12, the marching band is grades 6-12.
Mikaela decided to become a music educator due to her many positive musical experiences in high school, but she truly fell in love with the profession her freshman year of college. She began giving private lessons to students in the area which helped her discover her passion and love for teaching. In her path to becoming a band director, she had many influences and mentors. Of these are Rich Cummings, Joe Murphy, and Sheryl Monkelien.
Kappa Kappa Psi has played a significant role in her teaching and her growth as a person. Being on process and joining the organization helped her break out of her shell and become more outgoing. Through this, she was able to reach out to other teachers and collaborate. She now looks for ways to improve her own pedagogyy, which is vital to a successful career in teaching.
When asked for advice, Mikaela had many valuable pieces of advice for young and aspiring music educators. “Try teaching as much as you can before you enter the field. This is what helped me realize I had a passion for teaching. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things! I’ve had some pretty awesome experiences because of my philosophy of “never say no to a new opportunity.” Finally, make genuine connections with others. These connections can help you later in life if you have questions about things that are outside of your skillset. But just as important, you need to take care of yourself mentally. It can be very easy to get sucked into your job and not do much else. Have a strong support system throughout your schooling and during your adult life. And never forget that music is truly the greatest of the arts!”
Thank you, Mikaela, for your ongoing work in music education and helping grow the next generation of musicians and citizens.