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 Stephanie K. Sanders. Stephanie is an Assistant Professor of Music, Associate Director of Bands, and Jazz Ensembles Director at Norfolk State University (VA).
Stephanie K. Sanders
What instrument do you play?
Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Saxophone, Bassoon and Piano
At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?
Why did you start playing?
I had a great band teacher that pushed me to take a music entrance test and made sure I wanted to play whatever my heart desired!
What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?
I participated in band in the 5th grade, played in the Symphonic band in junior high and then played in Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Choir in high school.
Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?
Laura Hunter was my favorite teacher for introducing me to the world of classical saxophone and I also had never seen a woman play as great as she did. My other great mentor was Conrad Johnson who introduced me to the world of jazz in all its forms!
What is your favorite band memory from grade school?
My favorite memory in band during junior high school was going to the state contest in the 6th grade! I made a Superior rating and I was overjoyed!
Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?
I played bassoon in wind ensemble, orchestra and woodwind ensemble and played saxophone in jazz ensemble while attending Jackson State University. Music and the HBCU experience were my impacts for my college choice... And a full scholarship too!
What is your current occupation?
Assistant Professor of Music/Associate Director of Bands/Jazz Ensembles Director at Norfolk State University (VA).
How has music helped you in your current occupation?
I live and breathe music everyday and I also love my profession which makes it a pleasure to come to work everyday and impact students' lives.
How has music played a part in your adult life?
I perform with the symphony as Principal Bassoonist as well as play in a Jazz/RnB Band.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
Practice, have a passion to succeed and want to know as much about music as if your life depended on it. It is a struggle at times, but perseverance pays off in the end!