Musical Maestro


Photo Contributed

Swango addresses the class from the conductor’s stand.

Nolan Canfield, Staff Writer

During the passing period, most students will go to their 4th period class, but junior Bella Swango instead crosses the street to Middle School Central. She walks down the halls of her former middle school to her old band room. As class starts and the low rumble of the rowdy students begins to settle, Swango breaks the class up and takes her small group. Swango is there to help teach the middle school band students, and she uses her experience in the trombone and euphonium to lead that small group of middle schoolers. 

“I mainly teach the eighth graders at the middle school, but on Wednesdays I get to teach the seventh graders too,” Swango said. “I’ll come over there and help with the low brass people since I’m more rounded in that area. I usually stick with the euphonium and trombone players and help them with getting their notes and rhythms right, and after that I help clean for Mr. Herrick so that he doesn’t have to do that stuff.”

Swango believes that it is important for the middle schoolers to have a cadet teacher because of how large their band classes are.

“A lot of their confusion comes from their big class size,” Swango said. “There’s probably around 60 kids in the class, and I’m like a private lessons teacher for them. I am able to help because I know more specifics in their section, and I help teach them how to play better in general.” 

Swango has seen her own personal benefits to student teaching, such as being able to learn from others.

“Working with all the kids over there has actually gotten me a private lessons teacher,” Swango said. “The band director over there, Mr. Herrick, has another low-brass guy who comes in, and he’s seen me working with them. It has given me an opportunity to take lessons with someone.”

In addition to the growth of her musical abilities, student teaching has helped Swango to prepare for her future career.

“I plan on going to college for music education, and I’m taking this class to prepare myself,” Swango said.

Student teaching has helped Swango develop a better understanding of music education, and it has helped her to narrow down what she specifically wants to do.

“Student teaching has taught me that not everybody learns the same way, and you have to explain things in a lot of different ways to get different people to understand,” Swango said. “You can’t expect everyone to learn from the way that you learn. I have also learned that I would much rather work with high schoolers than middle schoolers. I enjoy teaching high schoolers more because they already have a grasp on how to play their instruments. I want to teach music at a higher level rather than teaching kids how to play instruments.”

Overall, Swango’s time teaching the middle schoolers proved to be very beneficial in helping her advance towards her goal of becoming a music teacher.

“I would recommend student teaching. It’s a good experience. Not only do I get to go over to the middle school, but the actual coursework is relatively manageable and I get to have an experience out of the high school,” Swango said.