Encouraging a love of music
Music has always been a part of Rosalee Allard’s life as long as she can remember.
Her mother was a piano teacher and an organ player, and she learned piano at a very young age. She knew she wanted to become a teacher as a young child, but it wasn’t until high school that she knew she should teach music. Ms. Allard was excelling at music and genuinely loved it. Now, she’s been at New Life Academy for six years and is currently the Lower School Music teacher and Secondary Band teacher.
Because New Life Academy is a K-12 school, Ms. Allard has had the benefit of teaching some of her senior students since they were in seventh grade. “I get to see so much growth from students, especially if they stay in band through 12th grade. As a musician and just as someone who loves music, it’s exciting to witness lightbulb moments happen. I’ve seen students, who have never played an instrument before, discover all of a sudden that they can make certain notes and sounds just by breathing differently,” Ms. Allard explains.
All fifth graders are required to take band. Ms. Allard’s goal is exposure and stretching them to do something new. “Band is not like other classes. It introduces them to a new approach of learning in a different classroom environment. Learning to read music is a new endeavor; it’s like learning a new language. My goal is to stretch their brains, learn something new, and see if it’s something they enjoy.” Ms. Allard knows that not all her students will continue to play instruments beyond fifth grade, and she hopes that they’ll be more appreciative of the music around them by the end of their band experience. She wants them to understand the amount of work it takes to create a piece of music, like a movie score, or for them to think critically about what they’re hearing.
Ms. Allard tries to emphasize that everything we do can be a worshipful experience, including making music. She lets these two questions guide her teaching: How do I live my life in a worshipful way? and How does everything that I do turn back to Christ? Because music performance can easily become a self-centered activity (How good am I? Or listen to me play), Ms. Allard always wants her students to remember that we can only do what we do because God gives us the ability to do it, and we should do our best because He deserves our best.
Ms. Allard started her time off at New Life as a long-time sub and then briefly left to teach at another school. Upon her return, she said, “it just felt like coming home. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
We’re so thankful for the enthusiasm Ms. Allard brings to the music department.