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Interview with Kelly Mraz, January 25, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Early days as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: So how long have you been teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Mraz describes the school where she teaches as well as the journey that led her to the profession. She talks about going through a period of adjustment after being hired to teach elementary school. She talks about learning to focus less on the lesson plans and more on the students as well as to not feel embarrassed to sing in front of the class.

Keywords: FAME; Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Lilburn, Georgia; R.D. Head Elementary School; Syracuse, New York; lesson plans; middle class; music camps; neighborhood centers; percussion; percussion ensembles; public schools; steady beat and rhythm; suburban; summer music camps

00:04:29 - Rewards and challenges

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Partial Transcript: What comments can you make regarding the quality of your teacher preparation?

Segment Synopsis: Mraz talks about the positive experience of her music education program at Ithaca College. She talks about overcoming the challenges of the job by prioritizing her students above everything else. She talks about feeling proud to have former students pursue music, including some who achieved All-State Chorus at GMEA. She describes the difficulty of seeing her students in any mental or physical pain. She talks about the reward of seeing hard work in the classroom pay off in performances and breakthroughs with students.

Keywords: All-State Chorus; B.Mus.; Bachelor of Music - Music Education; GMEA; Georgia Music Educators Association; Ithaca College; Ithaca, New York; clarinet; flute; lesson plans; saxophone; steady beat

00:10:03 - Keeping music programs alive / teaching style

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Partial Transcript: You know, sometimes we feel like, as music educators, that our profession is under siege

Segment Synopsis: Mraz talks about feeling hopeful working for a school system that values music education. She describes the constant humor found in the elementary school classroom. She talks about her interest in leadership roles in music education. She describes her firm but fair teaching style. She talks about learning from her college professor the impact of showing students that you’re invested in their lives.

Keywords: 2008 recession; Atlanta Area Orff Chapter; Fulton County, Georgia; GPS; Georgia Performance Standards; Gordon Stout; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Ithaca College; Ithaca, New York; Orff Schulwerk; STEAM; STEM; administration; band; budget cuts; budgets; curriculum development; orchestra; parents; percussion; recession; recorders; resource specialists; technology

00:15:50 - Professional development / learning from students

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Mraz talks about the ways she uses extrinsic motivation with her students. She talks about the benefits of attending professional development events for music educators. She talks about avoiding the isolation of being her school’s only elementary school music teacher by communicating with her peers at nearby schools. She describes the experience of mentoring teachers in a variety of circumstances. She talks about a difficult student who taught her the importance of finding each individual’s strengths.

Keywords: American Orff-Schulwerk Association; Atlanta Area Orff Chapter; GMEA; Georgia Music Educators Association; Gwinnett County, Georgia; National AOSA Professional Development Conference; Orff Schulwerk; Recorder Karate; classroom management; clusters; conferences; discipline; elementary school; extrinsic motivation; isolation; mentorship; music education; workshops