The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.
Today, we feature Jasmine Mitchell. Jasmine works in the health care field doing administrative work for an urgent care facility.
What instrument do you play?
At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?
Why did you start playing?
I started playing because my older brother was in the band starting in middle school and he really enjoyed and I thought it was something I would definitely like to do.
What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?
Elementary school was very minimal. We played recorders and switched percussion type instruments each week. Middle school is where I actually learned to play the trumpet and was in concert band for one year. However, middle school only lasted two years because of a city switch over from junior high to middle school. Then when I got to high school I no longer played an instrument but became a flag girl and continued through college.
Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?
While I did not take band as a class in high school, Ronald Collins Sr. was one of the best teachers of music I know. I watched him with the students during band practice and he wasn't always the most patient but was definitely helpful and made sure you knew what you were doing. However it was Mr. Collins who saw the potential in me to be a section leader which earned me bandsmen of the year my senior year.
What is your favorite band memory from grade school?
Well grade school was so long ago... however, my music teacher in grade school was the best. I only had him in the 6th grade. Mr Wolf was his name. He was a very free spirit and wanted to make sure that whatever instrument you had for the week it was the one you wanted and felt comfortable with. He was open to trading instruments so that all the children in the class were happy learning.
Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?
In college I took private lessons on the trumpet again, but, I never played outside of them. I was always interested in playing again but I never had the chance and being in color guard was so much more fun I didn't want to leave the section.
I went to Norfolk State because I had to stay in the area to go to school. I honestly did not know anything about show style band as I went to a corp style high school. However, I knew I wanted to continue marching and was very pleased with the decision I made to join the Spartan Legion at NSU.
What is your current occupation?
I am currently working in the health care field doing administrative work for a local urgent care facility.
How has music helped you in your current occupation?
Music has always been a large part of life but being in the band is what really impacted me. I learned one of the greatest lessons that any adult can have which is time management.
How has music played a part in your adult life?
I was the flag coordinator at Phoebus High School and the Assistant Band Director/Flag Coordinator at Surry Co. High School for one year each. Those experiences have been a great part of my life as an adult. While it was not my major in school, it was something that I still wanted to do. I was grateful for the opportunity to help out my friends and still be a part of marching band which is something I hold very dear to my heart.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
Keep playing. Never ever stop playing. Master your craft. The love of music can take you so far and teach you so many different life skills, all of which you will need to make it in life. The art of music is so under appreciated and the talent of young musicians can bring back to life the art form that is being slowly diminished in our schools. So grab a friend and bring them into in the bond that is the love of music and go far together.