Southwestern University alumni work hard in the competitive job market upon graduating. One program that continually succeeds in placing alumni into post-graduate careers is Music Education. We recently reached out to Caleb Martin ’17 who received his Music Education degree with an instrumental emphasis. You can read as he reflects on his time with the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, discusses what he has been up to since graduating, and how his education has impacted the way he works as an educator.


What have you been up to since graduating?

Since graduation I have accepted and started a position teaching Elementary music at Rancho Sienna Elementary School (a brand new school) in Liberty Hill ISD. I continue to play with the Austin Civic Orchestra, now as one of their primary clarinet players, and have been playing with the Cedar Park Winds who I will be going with to the Midwest Clinic as a performing ensemble. I am continuing my own private clarinet studio and am currently taking clarinet lessons with the Professor of Clarinet at UT, Jonathan Gunn.


What did a normal day in the fine arts building look like for you?

A normal day in the Fine Arts Building for me was walking into the building a little before my first class started to go and sit on the couches in front of the Alma Thomas Theater to either chill out or talk to friends. My days were usually full with back to back classes and rehearsals. It was rare when I would leave the building. I would then spend some late nights practicing for my lessons or finishing classwork.


Within the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, what activities did you take part in, whether as a part of your curriculum or otherwise?

I would say I was very active in the music department at Sarofim. I started right away by playing with the Wind Ensemble and joined the Jazz Band soon after. The next semester I joined Orchestra and started private lessons on Saxophone. I began to branch out more so after that, I started voice lessons and joined Opera Theatre for a couple semesters. On top of all of that, I joined Delta Omicron at the end of my first year and became Co-President by the end of my second year at SU, working to foster fellowship through music.


How would you describe the culture and community of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts and the Music Department?

The Sarofim School culture and community is very comforting and welcoming. There is always a gathering of students on the couches working and talking. It made it feel like it is a lively and well utilized building. It was so welcoming and fun that sometimes I would need to avoid the couches and common areas all together so I could get work done.


What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Sarofim School of Fine Arts?

My most memorable experience would have to be all the time I spent with all my friends at Sarofim. I don’t think I will ever find another school with so many different fine arts students getting along and interacting with each other on a day to day basis.


From your first day at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts to your last, how did you change? As a student? As a performer?

From my first day at Sarofim to my last I grew so much! I became a more outgoing individual, a personality of the FAB (too fab for the FAB), and really began to learn more about how to work through struggles and apply myself. As a performer I thrived at Sarofim! The opportunities to get on stage were endless with things like musicales, ensemble recitals, and solo recitals. The amount of time I spent performing was nothing like I had done before and yet I couldn’t have been happier. Sarofim helped affirm my love of performance and being on stage.


How has your experience at Southwestern impacted the way you work as a Music Educator?

My Southwestern experience really made me push myself and strive for things I never thought possible. It made me ambitious. I would say that is what I take with me as an educator, is my drive and ambition. I have been called “ambitious” and sometimes “crazy” by my coworkers (of course they mean well) for being so willing to go above and beyond with my students, to push their limits as well as my own. But I cannot disagree; I am crazy and ambitious, because I believe that if pushed the right way my students can do amazing things!


If you would like to know more about Southwestern University’s Music Education program and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, follow the link below!