EP04: Jennifer Schoener – Connecting communities through music education

The Podcast

Show notes

Jennifer’s website: http://udfoundation.org/

Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation

Standout quotes by Jennifer from the podcast:

[on what motivated Jennifer to practice in High School] I realized I wasn’t going to see from friends from [music] camp unless I made it to the festivals.

[on high school band] “I loved it because I had to work with my peers and we had to get a job done.”

“It really gave me an opportunity to find myself. My band director would call me the mouse that roared, because I was pretty quiet and pretty shy until he put me in charge of the band and then that kind of changed everything.”

[On band culture] “Every person there is important and it doesn’t matter where you are located in that room, you have to hold your own on that part…You can have 100 kids, but each one of those kids has a responsibility.”

“I believe in always having another level for a student to achieve.

[On students Jennifer interacts with from the foundation] “Some of the kids that I have met are the most dedicated. They don’t have a lot of money, but they have a huge heart. And that’s all that it takes to be successful.

[on differences between sports practice and music practice] “Sports, you have to be disciplined, but the nice thing about sports is when you’re out there suffering in the heat and the cold, you have your buddy next to you…and you have your coach yelling at you. But as soon as you go in your room and you shut that door, and it’s your turn to practice, the only one who’s going to be your cheerleader is you.”

[on her secret strategy to enabling students] “You have to think like a fourth grader…You have to create that motivation and inner desire to have them want to go home and practice.”

“Every kid is so different, you have to find out what’s going to motivate that kid. And the expectations are going to be different depending on the learning style and the personality.”

“Every kid comes to a point where they want to quit. I think that’s normal…I wanted to quit when I was in eighth grade and my mom said I’m going to send you to music camp for a week and if you come back and you still hate it, then you never have to touch it again.”

[What Jennifer said to her two children when they wanted to quit music, and music would later lead them into incredible life opportunities and careers] “Is it always easy? No. Do you have fun? Yes. You have talent. So our only hope for you is that you use that talent and…at least see what opportunities come to you after you’ve mastered this a little more, because you’re really just getting started.”

[on why some kids can develop a passion for music and others don’t] “I think so much of it is nurtured at home. A lot of people that aren’t musicians, they really don’t know that music can bring other skills. They really don’t understand how much independence, how much discipline, how much leadership comes out of it.”

“You have to know your community. You have to know what the expectations are of that community.”

[on connected with higher ups in politics to benefit the music community] “I don’t care if you’re democrat, republican, independent, if you’re purple..I don’t care..as long as you’re an advocate for kids, I’m right there with you.”

“Music is the only thing in school that teaches the art of listening.”

[on steps to advocate for music or the arts] “Get to know your school board and find out what are their thoughts…find out what do they see as strength in the district. What do they feel is important in the district. Get them involved. If a person feels something, they would advocate for it.”

Learn more about the Brad Schoener Fund:


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