(BGSU) – A Findlay native and recent Bowling Green State University graduate plans to take her passion for music and inspire the next generation of students and performers.
Before she became a Music Education major, a member of the Falcon Marching Band or even a Bowling Green State University student, Rachel Krueger ’22 had an experience at the University that showed her the type of music instruction she loved.
“My senior year, before I had an audition to be accepted into the clarinet studio, I had a trial lesson with professor Kevin Schempf, and it was magical,” she said. “He was super nice and very complimentary and so supportive, and that type of teaching felt right to me.”
“You’re with a private instructor for four years, so I wanted to make sure it was a good fit, and he was the perfect fit.”
Four years later, Krueger is now on the other side of the instruction after graduating with a Bachelor of Music and a specialization in Music Education.
Krueger knew she wanted to pursue music after graduating from Findlay High School, but faced a choice between music education and performance, the latter of which requires specializing in one instrument.
Though clarinet was the instrument she played in the marching band, Krueger said what she really loved was learning the intricacies of many instruments and then teaching others. She also learned organ – BGSU has an organ studio on campus – and percussion, and in many cases taught herself to play something new.
Schempf, a professor in the BGSU College of Musical Arts, said Krueger has played in more ensembles on more instruments than any student he has ever had.
“Rachel is a natural learner, and most of the instruments she plays she has figured out for herself,” Schempf said. “That makes a big difference when teaching because she has first-hand experience of figuring out the things that she does. That’s way different from teaching something you were taught.”
Krueger said her passion for being a generalist is beneficial in education settings in which she can teach students from all sections and advise students who have not yet picked one primary instrument.
Learning many instruments was fun for her, she said, and many children learning music feel the same way.
“The opportunity to get to play all the instruments is like a fifth grader’s dream,” she joked.
During her time at BGSU, Krueger did her student teaching at Rossford Schools alongside band director Justin Kelley, which became a formative experience for her. Krueger experienced up close what it was like to be a band director for a school with a competition marching band while still completing her undergraduate studies.
The experience confirmed how much she enjoyed watching students improve during the time she was there, she said.
“It was really time-consuming with marching band, rehearsals, Friday night football games, Saturday competitions, and a Halloween parade, but I felt like a sponge: I was soaking up all of this experience at once,” she said. “As I ended my student teaching and reflected on how the semester went, I was thinking about how getting to see the journey the kids went on and how they developed as players and people was really fulfilling to me.”
Schempf said Krueger’s love of music is apparent upon seeing her play, a quality that often helps a teacher connect with students.
“She just loves to play,” he said. “When she goes to teach, the students will be able to tell right away that she loves music and that will help them buy in.”
As Krueger prepares to teach music professionally, Schempf said her authenticity is something that comes through in all settings.
“The best thing about Rachel – whether playing, or teaching or just hanging out – is that she’s always just Rachel,” Schempf said. “It doesn’t matter what the setting is, she’s always her. Other people love that about her. People gravitate to her because she’s so nice, and that really helps when you’re a teacher.”
(story and picture courtesy of BGSU)