For junior Emily Kaltenbach, playing the piano has been a lifelong passion.
After learning how to play from her mother at age 3, Kaltenbach has sustained this passion as one of six music education students at Linfield.
“It’s the closest thing that I’ve had to religion, to therapy, to expressing love,” Kaltenbach said, explaining the importance of music in her life.
“Piano was there when I first realized that I couldn’t live without music,”
Although she has been performing formally in recitals since she began taking lessons at age 7, Kaltenbach didn’t begin singing or writing her own music until she came to Linfield.
“I’ve been exposed more to what I’m capable of making,” she said, although most of her own songs are still only half-written.
Kaltenbach expanded her performance experience by playing at a Cat Cab during January term with a few of her good friends, who played acoustic covers of various pop songs from artists such as Jason Mraz and Coldplay.
As Kaltenbach’s involvement with music has broadened, so has her desire to inspire elementary school music students.
She said she has three simple goals for her future students: give students the opportunity to create their own music, help students feel comfortable singing and provide students with the vocabulary to be able to carry on a conversation about music.
Kaltenbach’s teaching style revolves around student involvement. She said she loves lessons that are interactive and allow students to connect music with their daily lives.
“Her enthusiasm about music is really contagious,” junior Amy Meyer, Kaltenbach’s fellow music education major and roommate, said.
Kaltenbach recently taught peers in an education class her favorite activity, where students draw whatever comes to mind as they listen to a piece of music.
“Any excuse to use crayons as a college kid is fun,” she said.
Even though Kaltenbach’s excitement about teaching music as a career is evident, the 92-credit music education major is demanding.
“It’s just a jam-packed major,” she said. “It would be nice to get some recognition, I guess.”
All the music education majors are supportive of each other. They understanding that you do a lot for little credit, Meyer said.
However, belonging to such a small major has benefits, as well.
“You really get to know everyone, and everyone has their own niche,” Meyer said.
Some people have tried to deter Kaltenbach from teaching music, but she remains adamant about succeeding.
“My heart is in it,” she said. “The money will follow. It will all get figured out.”
As a music student, Kaltenbach had an entirely new learning experience while taking piano lessons when abroad in France in the fall.
While notes are referred to with letters in English, the French use the “do, re, mi” sequence, leading to a communication breakdown between Kaltenbach and her piano instructor.
“I didn’t know how to discuss music with her,” Kaltenbach said. “It definitely showcased that [written] music is a universal language.”
Only being able to practice one hour every week while abroad made Kaltenbach realize how much she missed music, especially the piano.
“I feel really connected to piano, and without it, I do feel a little lost,” she said.