We have some amazing percussion students here at WP, and this page is a place where you can get to know them a little better.
Meet Elise McAloon, a Music Education Major who is graduating this year:
Congratulations on finishing up your degree at WP. How have you changed as a musician since coming here four years ago?
In the past 4 years, I have changed as a musician not only as a percussionist, but I have developed my musicianship in learning all of the wind band instruments, how to sing and how to play the piano. These developments as a musician have helped me to become a better educator in addition to becoming a better musician. As a percussionist, I have changed as a musician because I learned how to expand my percussion playing to more contemporary percussion. This has helped me understand a genre of music that I was not too familiar with prior to coming to William Paterson.
What is a typical day like for you in a semester?
At this point in my career as a music student at WPU, I am student teaching full time at Wayne Valley High School with Gabriel Batiz as my Clinical Educator. This student teaching internship requires me to be at the high school every day from 7 am until the school day is complete which is at 2:15 pm. After the school day, I remain at the high school to help with extra curricular rehearsals and performances. I am also still involved hevily with the New Music Ensemble. This add additional night and weekend rehearsals throughout my week and are a great way to end my long student teaching days.
What are your career goals? Where do you want to be in five years?
In 5 years I hope to have my own high school band program. Student teaching at Wayne Valley high school has really inspired me to want to pursue a career in teaching at the high school level.
Tell us about some of your most memorable musical experiences at WP.
Some of the most memorable musical experiences at WPU have happened on Monday nights at our New Music concerts. Every Monday night performance with the whole percussion studio, faculty and even alumni has been memorable and contributed heavily to my development as a percussionist/educator. Having the opportunity many times to conduct literature with the percussion ensemble on these concerts has been incredible, it was so memorable to even conduct a world premier percussion ensemble piece, “Owl Flight” by Chris Opperman. I am grateful for the many memorable musical opportunities WP has given me in the past 4 years.
What advice would you have for first-year students?
One of the most important professional lessons that I have learned by being a percussionist at WP is to always be on time. This is something that is stressed in the WP percussion and music department. More advice I have for first-year students would be to always practice whenever you can. Practicing especially at night has been helpful for me personally because their are less distractions. The last piece of advice that I have for first-year students is to love what you are doing and keep an open mind. Sometimes if you are hesitant about performing a certain piece or genre of music, always give it a try and make the best of it.
Any other thoughts about being a music student at WP?
Being a music student at WP has been life changing. I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have had in performance as well as education. The connections I have made with my peers and teachers have helped me through my 4 years and have shaped me into a better musician that I ever could have thought possible.