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music in our schools month

If you look up the word "music" in the dictionary, you'll probably see an explanation like this:vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

Reading the definition, I can't help but wonder where my life would be without music. I graduated from a small'ish school district in Southern Wisconsin, but it offered incredible opportunities to be a part of the arts by getting involved in plays, musicals, band, chorus, swing choir -- and I tried to take advantage of as much of it as possible, starting when I was pretty young. I believe it's what put me on the path to where I am (still) headed today.

These thoughts really surfaced recently while talking with a friend about our school music programs. Did you know there is an official "Music in our Schools Month?" It is every March, as designated by the National Association for Music Education, which says music used to be part of every curriculum at every grade level in the 1970s. But by 1984, many music educators had to "sell their programs to students" to compete with the other extra-curricular activities many music programs had been lumped into, especially at the high school level.

So, it is during this "Music in our Schools Month," that I begin my blogging journey. It feels right, considering school is where my musical journey began. Life does revolve in full circles, doesn't it?

P.S. If you'd like to know a little more about my early experiences, keep reading. These questions are just a small part of a different project I'll tell you about soon, but the answers are all mine, and tie-in really well with the idea behind this first blog.

What is your music background?

Katie: Music and the arts were ingrained from my early childhood. I started acting in plays and musicals before I could read. My dad was always a big part of the set designs in most of the performances I was in, and the whole creative process just sort of took a hold of me and became a part of who I am. I started writing and directing plays and songs with my siblings, cousins and friends. Really, anyone who was cool with playing dress up and getting a little goofy was who I was hanging out with. After seeing my first Broadway musical "Phantom of the Opera" my parents coincidently brought home what they said was a "haunted piano." My sister, brother and I all took a keen interest in playing and I think by default we encouraged each other to work at it. First grade elementry is when my school district started music class, and from there on through college, I was in choir and nearly every musical that was offered. Throughout high school I performed in a traveling competitive show choir where we competed with different schools throughout the Midwest and in the South. It was high school that I really grasped the concept of writing my own songs, but once I started it became like therapy. I performed my first original song my senior year in our annual Jazz Di Pasta variety show put on by the music department. My brother, DJ and I started a band called Sibling Rivalry while we were both in college. That is when I started to pick up the guitar. We played a couple of local shows here and there, mostly for fun. In 2008 we were met by two seasoned players based in Madison and added drums and bass. We dropped the "Sibling" and called ourselves "Rivalry" and started to play real shows and festivals around the Midwest.

Is this how you decided to focus on music?

Katie: I can't really describe what it was exactly. I think, in all honesty that I didn't have a choice one way or another. It's almost like second nature to me, like if I don't eat, I just don't feel right.

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