Young boys singing

Melissa Gustafson-Hinds

Where do you teach?

O'Fallon Township High School, ILMEA District 6

What do you teach?

Early Bird Jazz Band - 20 students
Assist Freshman band - 65 students
Symphonic Band - 55 students
Symphonic Winds - 45 students
Honors Wind Ensemble - 65 students
Assist with the Jazz Program (2 big bands, and combo)
Musical Pit

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Observing the musical and personal growth in each student.  As music teachers, we get the privilege of seeing student growth throughout their school shape their lives through music.

What makes the music program at O’Fallon Township High School unique?

Over 40% of our band students are from military families, thus, many of these students are in and out of our program due to transfers.  Our band serves as a welcoming group for all new students...sort of a family melting pot.

In addition, we had our largest feeder school program cut last school year.  The OTHS Music program took over this feeder program and ran it similar to a business through our town's Park and Recreation program.  We are thankful that this program has been reinstated within the school day.  This experience directly brought our programs closer together and created new relationships with the high school staff and students.

What do students get from the music program that they do not get anywhere else in school?

Beside a wonderful musical experience...they learn to be great people. Character skills of:  professionalism; self respect for themselves and each other; cooperation; working towards a goal through calculated means; gain self esteem; and a feeling of purpose.

What are the top five reasons students are involved in music at O’Fallon Township High School?

1. For the amazing musical experiences that we provide for all music students.
2. For the individual attention that each student receives in rehearsal and through private lesson study.
3. Personal satisfaction and building of self-esteem through performance.
4. Everlasting friendships and teamwork opportunities
5. Vast amounts of opportunities that students receive through involvement in music.

How has ILMEA involvement benefitted the educators, students and music education at O’Fallon Township High School?

The students at OTHS take pride in preparation for the ILMEA Auditions and are always honored to be selected for the District Ensembles and All State Ensembles. The students encourage and work with each other during the preparation process and are always supportive of each other. Thus, our involvement in ILMEA has not only encouraged improvement in individual student performance, but also leadership.

What are your educational goals for this year?

To continue being an effective teacher through self analysis and awareness. To continue to provide unique and special musical experiences for all music students of O'Fallon Township High School.

How do you incorporate assessment and standards-based learning in your music curriculum, and how does it benefit your students?

We base all of our rehearsals on the CMP philosophy.  For each rehearsal cycle, the students have a Unit Study on the music at hand, in which they focus on the three learning domains: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. They study these areas during the rehearsal and evaluate themselves and the overall process daily. Thus, students are learning "music" through performance at all times.

Please share something with new teachers that you have found helpful in your life.

It is important to be resourceful and find that veteran teacher that can help and assist you when questions arise. At this point in my career, I try to be that teacher for younger teachers and provide them a means to improve and continue moving forward in rehearsal and the classroom.

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