Last year Collin Stephenson was a student teacher at Redwood Falls while completing his last year of college. This year, he's the new middle school music teacher himself.
When Collin Stephenson was in high school, he played the trumpet. Now the new RVMS music educator is playing a lot more than that, as he is leading the sixth and seventh and eighth grade bands, as well as the fifth grade choir.
“You have to know how to play all of the instruments,” he said, adding that is the only way you can help music students develop the skills they need as they continue.
Stephenson, who is originally from Waterville, earned his music education degree from SMSU in Marshall.
Stephenson completed his coursework at the beginning of August and started work in the local school district just a couple of weeks later.
While making the transition from college into the classroom offers challenges for any new teacher, as they try and acclimate themselves to the new environment, Stephenson had an easier adjustment to his new surroundings.
During the 2011-12 school year, Stephenson did his student teaching in the local school district, and when one of the teachers took a leave of absence he got the chance to jump in and spend a lot more time with the students.
Stephenson said he really learned a lot from the current music educators in the local school district.
“I was really lucky to be here and to work with them,” he said.
Although Stephen-son is still getting to know the students in his music groups, there are quite a few familiar faces, which he said makes the transition easier and allows him to get into the work of helping the students start much sooner.
As a band and choir director, Stephenson said he spends most of his day doing practices with the groups who come that day, with time also spent giving band lessons to those students in Grades 5-8.
That is where the skills he has developed in playing all of the different instruments come into play.
Stephenson said the brass instruments obviously come pretty easy to him, because that is what he has played, but he added others, such as the clarinet seem to come pretty naturally to him.
Stephenson said he always knew he wanted to be a teacher, adding it was later on because of his own music director that he decided to get a music education degree.
In addition to bringing to his classroom those lessons he learned during his student teaching experience, Stephenson said he hopes to bring the things he observed in his own music teacher, such as being organized and being patient, to the choir and band rooms where he meets with students.
“Music is a way for the students to escape during the day,” he said. “In the music room I can help them be creative.”
Stephenson said he really enjoys a wide variety of music styles and is planning to expose the students he meets with to lots of things during the year.
Stephenson said he considers Redwood Falls to be a nice area, adding it is nice to be part of a community that is supportive of the school and the music program.
As an outdoorsman, Stephenson is hoping to be outside when he is not in school or at upcoming concerts.