February Teacher Spotlight: JulieAnn Bernard

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We have an impressive lineup for our 2019 Teacher Spotlights. To start us off, we are recognizing JulieAnn Bernard from Centerville City Schools. JulieAnn graduated from Miami University in 1993 with a degree in Music Education. At Miami University she held the Patricia Jellinek-Howell Award, which is a 4-year full tuition scholarship. Additionally, she attended the Interlochen and Brevard Music Festivals on performance scholarships. JulieAnn received her Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis on instrumental conducting from the University of Dayton. And she is the former adjunct professor of Upper String Pedagogy at the University of Dayton. Her orchestras have performed multiple times at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival and OMEA Professional Development Conference. JulieAnn has appeared as a guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer throughout Ohio and Indiana. Along with all of that, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe as a violinist and vocalist both classically as well as in various rock bands. JulieAnn has an impressive background, is an outstanding educator, and we are so grateful we get to work with her! To learn more about JulieAnn continue reading.

Can you tell me a little about your school’s orchestra program?

We are fortunate to have four string specialists employed in our district as well as a booster group that brings in sectional coaches from the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Our program starts in 6th grade at our three 6th-8th middle schools. At the high school we have 3 curricular orchestras.  Our district also has 3 unique extra-curricular orchestras: a youth orchestra, a chamber program, and an Alternative Strings ensemble. We host a Middle School Honors Festival which partners select 6th-8th grade musicians with members of our CHS Orchestra Honors program for a side-by-side orchestra concert.  This year we started a chapter of United Sound (a national foundation) which provides a musical performance experience for special needs students through peer mentorship.  www.unitedsound.org

What city do you currently teach in?

This is my 26th year of teaching and my 16th year at Centerville City Schools in Dayton, Ohio.

What instruments do you play/ teach?

I regularly perform on violin and viola.  I sing professionally and play cello, bass as well as piano.  I would love to play Celtic harp.  Maybe that will be my next goal! 

How did your career in music get started?

My grandmother taught me to play the organ when I was 4 years old.  My mother’s family is full of musicians so it was a natural progression.  I started violin in the 5th grade and I fell in love with classical music. However coming from a family of non-classical musicians taught me to love and pursue other genres of music.  I have recorded on albums for prog rock, Celtic, alternative, and rock bands.

What’s your favorite song to play?

The Bach Sonatas and Partitas.  I love the way the sequences feel under your fingers and that Bach’s music can sound very passionate.  With my quartet I love to play Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and other rock tunes.

What are some of your other hobbies?

I collect rocks and minerals. I also make jewelry and love to read.

What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?

It was an honor to conduct the Centerville High School Symphonic Orchestra in concert at the Lincoln Memorial. But because I truly love what I do, each day I have favorite moments.

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

Demonstrating a personal love for learning while sharing your passion for music sets the atmosphere for any class. Students thrive in an environment where they feel respected and where there is a strong sense of purpose. Employing a good sense-of-humor helps too.

What are your future goals as a musician and teacher?

To continue to foster a love for creating music in my students. As an educator I want to influence those with decision-making power in our schools to allow music to exist for music’s sake.  The other academic and physiological benefits are nice but, music is worthy in and of itself as a pursuit and should be a priority in our schools.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Understand there will be days that you will question why you are pursuing music.  Practice harder on those days.

Fun fact?

I sing background vocals in a nationally touring Pink Floyd tribute band called Signs of Life: The American Pink Floyd.

Courtney Kappa