Brennan Lockwood, Christina Guckel
Andrew Toniolo is the new choir teacher this year. He teaches Music Production, Bass Chorus, Treble Choir, Chamber Singers, and also serves as a director for Metea’s a cappella ensembles Apollo and Muses, Metea’s vocal jazz ensemble, Off The Record, and serves as a co-director for Metea’s musical production of A Chorus Line. He has been teaching music for ten years. To learn more about him, keep reading!
What inspired you to pursue music education?
It was exciting and scary and nerve-wracking all at once, to leave a place that I thought I was going to be at for a long time. But people always told me that when you have a baby, they change your life forever. I always kind of took that, my life can be different, but I never knew specifically how it was going to be different. As soon as my daughter was born, I knew that I could not keep the same schedule working, I already felt busy as it was, and then adding being a present father on top of that seemed like it was going to be pretty hard to do. I was so fortunate that a similar high school had a job opening around that same or similar looking high school and a job opening at the same time, and even more fortunate that they chose me to come and be here. That was the unknown and it is always scary. I try to tell my students that it is okay to fear the unknown. It is an opportunity for growth, and I think growth has happened this year and changes are good, sometimes for becoming better than what you were before.
What have been some of the challenges with this first year of teaching music at Metea?
Some of the challenges are just navigating. I think both literally and figuratively navigating the halls of Metea because there are a lot of different traditions here that I have to get used to, and orient myself with in terms of how things go. Upholding what the expectations are from the teachers in the student bodies is another challenge just to gain knowledge and then execute it. It is almost like you have to be okay, that is how it goes. And then the next day, you want to make sure that you deliver, so that has been some of the challenges, it is just the quickness of everything. For example, going to college, then what happens after college, okay, then we do this, this, and this for finals, and then we will get what happens after finals. So kind of take it a month at a time, but that has been one of the bigger challenges. I think my previous school started the school day at 8:30 a.m. So it has been an hour, but it is a big hour.
What have been some of the highlights this year for you at Metea?
The new connections with the students and my new colleagues. One of the reasons why I love teaching is getting to collaborate with students and [seeing] all the discoveries, moments of success, and going through adversity, these are all things that contribute to our overall character and being able to be a part of that journey and the students’ lives is just a huge honor. The teachers are really closely knit and working as a team and making decisions as a team is a really cool thing that I do not think a lot of other high schools have. I find myself fortunate to be a part of that team.
What advice do you have to students considering pursuing music education as a career?
You probably always hear no matter what field you go into, it is not about what you know, it is about who you know. Surround yourself with good-minded people of good character that can teach you a lot of things. Remembering what the spirit of music is and what it is for, and what it should be for us in our world in our culture is the primary objective when you are a music teacher. It is not about having the best program, it is not about having the most talented kids. The aim is to enrich students’ lives and other people’s lives who are listening and to provide challenges for students to overcome. It is about growing people both in their talents and character.
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