UNI TED CONSERVATORY N E W S A N D NO T E S
MY PATHWAY TO MUSIC, THANKS TO MR. DETLEFSEN
I play piano, but my main passion is singing. I’ve also been singing my whole life. Growing up, I’d sing in the car and sign up for talent shows. When I told my parents that I wanted to be a singer when I grew up, their reaction was, “Well, that’s great. But it’s not a real job.” I had a lot of wonderful teachers over the years, but my high school choir teacher, Jeff Detlefsen, was the one who supported and encouraged me at the most critical juncture. When it was time, Mr. Detlefsen drove me to my audition at Fresno State and helped me with all the hurdles associated with the application process for their school of music. It may have taken until my junior year of high school, but in Mr. Detlefsen’s class, I discovered for the first time how much fun music instruction could be. Mr. Detlefsen inspired me as a musician, but he also inspired me to become a music teacher myself. I graduated from Fresno State with a degree in music education in 2017, and for almost a year after I graduated, I didn’t do anything at all with music. But I had a friend from the music program who was teaching at the United Conservatory of Music, and she said they needed a voice teacher. At the time, the school only had a few teachers — 10 at the most. I reached out, and the United Conservatory of Music became my pathway back to music. Since then, of course, our school has grown, and I have a full studio of students to teach. I love it. “IT MAY HAVE TAKEN UNTIL MY JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, BUT IN MR. DETLEFSEN’S CLASS,
After teaching music in a private school environment, I don’t want to teach high school anymore. I’m hooked on the small classes, simplicity, and long-lasting relationships at the United Conservatory
of Music. There are a few students I teach now who I’ve been teaching for years, and it’s so rewarding to set the
piano book down in front of them and hear them play a song as well as I could myself, and sometimes even better than I could!
I learn new things every single day from my students. When you teach, you have to know a hundred different ways to explain one concept, and so you have to understand that concept really, really deeply. For that reason, teaching has made me a better musician and a better performer. I still perform regularly. I sing every week at St. John’s Cathedral, where I’m the cantor for the masses. I’m also working on my master’s in vocal performance at Fresno State University, and I recently won my category in the third annual Fresno State Art Song Festival. Whether I’m performing or I’m teaching, I love that I get to show up, make music, and get paid. Every now and then I like to remind my parents: Once a week, they pay me just to show up and sing. I am still working toward my degree in vocal performance. I haven’t fully arrived. Still, I feel lucky that when I go to work, I get to do the thing I love most, every day: make music.
I DISCOVERED FOR THE FIRST TIME HOW MUCH FUN MUSIC INSTRUCTION COULD BE.”
559-869-8263 • 1 —Ms. Katieunitedconservatory.org
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