This week’s featured Teaching Artist, Andrea Beyer ’15 MM, is a well-traveled student and experienced instructor. Before entering the Yale School of Music this year, she traveled with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), teaching young bass students in Chile and Mexico. Coming to YSM, she says she was happy to find similar opportunities with the Music in Schools Initiative: “I have always enjoyed teaching, and found the outreach work I did through YOA extremely rewarding, so I was very excited when I learned about MISI. While in the Global Leaders program, I grew a lot as a teacher, so I was eager to have a chance to further that and apply all that I learned to my new community in New Haven.”
Here in New Haven, she doesn’t have to travel far from campus to teach. She has five bass students at Augusta Lewis Troup School on Edgewood Ave, and three at Co-Op High School. She says she enjoys leaving campus regularly and experiencing other parts of the city: “Working in the schools has made me feel more connected to New Haven as a city. Having just moved here, it has been a wonderful way to be introduced to the community outside Yale University, which I probably would not have had the chance to do without MISI.” Here on campus, she also coaches and plays alongside one beginning bass player in the All-City Honors Orchestra in on Saturdays in Hendrie Hall.
Because there are so few bass students in the area — some schools have none at all — Andrea feels that encouragement is a uniquely important part of her job, so that her students can play confidently as the only bassist in the orchestra if necessary. She describes one moment in which she feels she accomplished that: “[One of my students] is the only bassist in her class and she started a little later than most of the other string players, so she's now working to catch up with the rest of the students. She needs a lot of encouragement, and I often feel like my job with her is as much cheering her on as it is actually teaching her about the bass. We were working one-on-one on the song that her whole class is playing, and after a few weeks of going over notes and fingerings, she was finally able to play through the whole song from start to finish. When she reached the end, I congratulated her and asked how she felt. She had a huge smile on her face and just said, ‘awesome.’”
The Teaching Artist program is the in-school component of the Music in Schools Initiative, an ongoing partnership between the Yale School of Music and the New Haven Public Schools, with funding from the Yale College Class of 1957. During the academic year, the Music in Schools Initiative places Teaching Artists in more than 30 public schools throughout New Haven. By our definition, Teaching Artists are YSM students trained to complement the work of full-time NHPS music teachers. They teach sectionals, ensembles, private lessons, and other activities depending on the needs of the school to which they are assigned.