A big career with musical moments


by Brittney Pickei

As a music education junior at San Diego State, Valerie Garcia has demonstrated true talent as both a singer and a musician.

Garcia said since coming to SDSU, the music department has helped her grow as a musician and has created many opportunities for her to learn. She said one of the benefits of SDSU’s music department is that it’s small, which makes it easy to get one-on-one time with teachers. As an aspiring music education teacher, the music department has been an excellent resource in giving Garcia hands-on experience with teaching music to young kids.

“My favorite experience here at San Diego State was when I got to teach third graders a song and music lesson, which gave me hands-on training in my field. The music department was incredible and had the resources to make that happen,” Garcia said.

For someone who has a great passion for teaching, Garcia said this was an amazing experience because it showed Garcia her not only what she did wrong, but what she did right while teaching the kids. For Garcia, having the opportunity to teach the kids was a confirmation that she is in the right field, and she said she would do it again in a heartbeat. Her music career started at a very young age and she has been singing informally all her life.

“In high school I always won the award for ‘most musical’ or ‘human iPod,’” Garcia chuckled.

It was the musical “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber that inspired Garcia to sing and pursue a career in music. She said her voice teacher, Dr. Michelle Ayres, has done an amazing job in helping Garcia develop her voice in just one semester. Because Garcia is a music education major, this gives her the challenging task of learning how to play a variety of different instruments. Since joining the music department at SDSU, she has learned to play several different instruments.

“As a music education major, it is required that I learn all the different types of instruments, including brass, strings, piano and woodwinds” Garcia said. “So far it’s been a great experience learning how to play the violin and percussion instruments.”

After graduation, Garcia plans to fulfill her dream of becoming a music teacher and pursuing her credentials. After acquiring her teaching credentials, Garcia plans to teach a middle school band and choir at a school in San Diego or Los Angeles County. In today’s economy, finding a job after graduating may be a struggle for some, but not so much for Garcia who said the music education department has a 100 percent employment rate.

“The music education program has done a great job of finding jobs for the graduates,” Garcia said.

Aztecs can watch Garcia’s incredible vocal performance as well as other choir performers on May 7 at College Avenue Baptist Church. For those who are interested in pursuing singing, the Aztec Concert Choir is accepting all majors with no audition or previous experience needed.

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Photo by Megan Wood, Staff Photographer