Minnesota School Of Music - September 2018

09. 2018 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com

WHAT MENTORSHIP REALLY MEANS A LESSON IN TEACHING THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN

I f you’re anything like me, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind thanks to the back-to-school rush. Getting our kids set up with No. 2 pencils, backpacks, and light- up sneakers can be overwhelming. I remember when my mom was doing the same for me, and looking back, I can’t even remember what style of backpack I had or what kind of shoes she got me. It was the relationship I had with my teachers that left a lasting impact on me. I was fortunate to have many great teachers over the years. Most were extremely dedicated individuals who fostered my love of learning and my passion for music. One professor in particular took it upon himself to not just be a teacher in the classroom, but to be an outstanding mentor in life — Dr. Christopher Kachian. I met Dr. Kachian while I was pursuing my undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas, where he is still the advisor for the guitar studies program to this day. An established performer who has played concerts around the globe, Dr. Kachian is an excellent teacher. But where other professors simply offered guidance in the classroom, he stepped up to nurture my development as a young professional wherever he could. In fact, it was Dr. Kachian who connected me with my first teaching jobs. His references helped me earn money as a college student and helped me discover that I had a real love of teaching music. He also helped me land my first paid theater gig at none other than the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters. Then, when it came time to apply to grad school, he helped me get into the University of Minnesota. Experiencing that level of mentorship has not only shaped me as a person, but has also shaped our entire organization. Awhile back, Dr. Kachian called me out of the blue. He explained that he’d been having lunch with a fellow professor, and they’d decided to start Googling former

students to see where they were in life. That’s when he found me at the Minnesota School of Music and decided to call me right away. “Dude!” he began, “You’re the only one who’s got game!” Since reconnecting, Dr. Kachian has once again stepped up to the plate, helping to recommend several quality teachers to MnSOM’s staff. In fact, Cyrus Wolff, one of our current staff members, comes to us handpicked by Dr. Kachian! But what I am most grateful for is the fact that Dr. Kachian showed me what real mentorship looks like. Having been shown the value of guiding students’ professional development inside and outside of the classroom, I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to lend a helping hand. In 2016, one of our former students, Cali Weddle, had a dream of becoming a performer. I knew she had a special talent, so I wanted to help her by recording her first record right here at MnSOM studios. Guess who played harmonica on the title track? It was Dr. Kachian, of course. Then, when it came time to promote the record, I delved into my own performing arts contacts to get Cali in touch with a local pageant director (whom I met through — you guessed it — Dr. Kachian). Six months later, she won 2016’s “Miss Minnesota’s Most Outstanding Teen!” As parents, it’s important for us to get past the trendy backpacks and flashy sneakers and recognize the value of the relationships our children develop with their teachers. These bonds can help kids find success inside and outside the classrooms and lead to lifelong friendships. Thanks to Dr. Kachian, I’ve learned that for our school to be truly successful, we have to think beyond the classroom. We’re not just guiding students to be better musicians — we’re guiding them to reach their dreams.

Here’s to all of life’s teachers,

–Eric Nehring

(763) 432-9713 • 1

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