January 2018 Teacher Spotlight: Kathy Anderson

To start off the new year we are featuring Kathy Anderson! She is the Strings Director at Highlands Middle and High School located in Ft. Thomas, KY. Kathy grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She is married and has 5 children and 2 extra special daughters- her best friend's daughters after she passed away. Along with taking care of a full house she is an excellent and well respected teacher and musician. She has received the Golden Apple Award, in Northern Kentucky for being an excellent middle school educator. She has also received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, for creating and performing an original musical fairy tale for children with disabilities. Also, at KMEA Kathy has received Straight Unanimous Distinguished ratings for the past 5 years, Named Judges Exemplar Ensemble for the past 3 years, has been selected twice to perform at KMEA conventions and has been selected to perform at the Kentucky Association of Superintendents. And if all of that isn't impressive enough- we found out recently that Kathy has been awarded Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year 2017-18. That is a huge accomplishment and we are so happy BVS is able to work with such an amazing teacher. To learn more about Kathy and her background in music keep reading.

We'd also like to thank Kathy and her class for letting us visit and record their rehearsal! They are playing beautifully in the video above!

What city do you currently teach in?

"Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. Just across from Cincinnati."

What instruments do you play/ teach?

"I am a violinist and pianist. I teach all of the string instruments: violin, viola, cello and bass."

How did your career in music get started?

"I studied violin performance at Manhattan School of Music and Yale University. I started teaching privately when I was in 7th grade! I taught as a graduate teaching assistant at Yale and then continued teaching privately ever since. Upon graduation, I played with the Omaha, Portland (ME), Charlotte and Columbus symphonies. After marrying my husband, a bassist in the Cincinnati Symphony, I went on to play as a regular sub with the Cincinnati Symphony, Opera, and Pops. I was a member of the Cincinnati Ballet for 20 years, and faculty string quartet at Miami University for several years, until I started our family of 5 children. Ten years ago, I was asked to start a strings program for the Highlands Middle and High schools in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. It began as an after-school program of 24 students and now has 5 orchestras and over 200 hundred students!"

What’s your favorite song to play?

"With regard to the violin, I really cannot choose a favorite. With my school orchestra I am a huge fan of Brian Balmages. When our chamber orchestra first played the Corelli Christmas Concerto and Brandenburg Concerto #3 from the original scores, they became my favorite because of the achievement of playing an original score of some of the greatest composers."

What other hobbies besides music do you have?

"Gardening, raising chickens and ducks, and rehabbing our 1800's farmhouse. We have a 12 acre farm in Warren County that we bought 2 years ago. It sat uninhabited 2 years prior. We are bringing it back to life."

What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?

"I have several, but recently, I received a card from a former student. She had attempted suicide in high school and struggled emotionally. Her note thanked me for sticking by her and giving her music as a retreat to all of the bad things happening in her life. Her note said that I "had saved her life". That meant so much to me, though at the time, I had no idea that I had played such a role."

What do you find to be the best motivator for students?

"Humor and honesty."

What are your future goals as a musician and teacher?

"Continue to improve my instruction and inspire more students to play a musical instrument!"

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

"Practice! Practice! Practice!"

Fun fact?

"I have an identical twin. She is a bassoonist in New York!"
Courtney Kappa