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Everything I've wanted to ask my Music Mentors

I'm sure we all have a number of people in our lives that have inspired our music taste and interest. While I have a long list, I decided to pick 3 and interview them. To start, I was feeling a little nostalgic and wanted to interview 2 of my favorite professors from Plymouth State University!!!! (APPLAUSE) The third mentor is a bit more personal so at the end you will catch me interviewing my Dad. But first I'll start out with my music professors...

They are the teachers that didn't take things TOO seriously, were easy to talk to, and you looked forward to listening to every word they had to say.

The first interview is with my American Musical Theater Professor- Professor Page. I remember this class was always fun and laid back, but still I learned SO much about the history of Musical Theater, and just history in general- particularly in the South where a lot of Musicals we studied took place.

Our final project was a binder with all the musicals we learned about and our research and discussions on them. This is one of the few educational physical documents I've kept from college- besides the thousands of papers of Student Loan Information :-) Anyway, keep reading to get to know Professor Page:

1. What degree did you graduate with?

“I have a BA in acting from Plymouth State University and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College.”

2. What classes do you currently teach?

“American Musical Theater, Acting One, First Year Seminar on reality TV, and Musical Theater Tech.”

3. Is Musical Theater your one big passion?

“I have lots of loves! I am definitely a Musical Theater geek, but I also love all kinds of Arts and Performances. Anything from Dance, to Poetry, to Paintings. I am also a huge tech geek.”

4. Do you do any work outside of Theater?

“Yes! Every day. One thing I do outside of Theater is I design online learning courses which focus on the connection of Scripting, Animating, and Voice. When I realized my love for helping people as well as teaching people, I also realized how the two could mix. In all subjects, I do believe that everything is connected in a sort of way.”

5. What courses do you recommend students in the Theater or Music department consider taking OUTSIDE of Music courses?

“Courses involving Art History, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, or History in general. But other than that, you should take courses on anything that interests you. Maintain your curiosity, and stay open minded.”

6. What other fields do you think connect with the Theater and Music industry?

“Definitely all of the Humanity fields. Also a lot of music relates to historical events of the time, so History is closely connected which I prove greatly in my Musical Theater class. I think any kind of Psychology or Sociology has a lot to do with approaching or analyzing a character in a production. Also, Technology relates to the set of a show.”

7.Could you see yourself teaching anything other than Theater?

“For sure, I could see myself teaching Learning Design and Pedagogy or History!"

I realized from my time with Professor Page that you shouldn't restrict yourself. It's acceptable to have “lots of loves”. And the best thing to do with your many loves is to maintain your curiosity with them, and always be learning new things about them.

Dr. Eva Nagorka is the 2nd professor I interviewed. She taught another one of my favorite courses: Exploring Music that was all about the History of Music Genres, Artists, Musicians, and Instruments. One day I'll never forget, was when Professor Nagorka brought in a whole array of Instruments and had each student go up one by one to play them in front of the entire class! Although I almost passed out from being so nervous, I also realized that one day I'd love to learn the violin.

1. What degree did you graduate with?

"3 degrees:  Bachelor of Music (Voice Performance)

Master of Music Education

Doctor of Arts in Leadership"

2. Is Musical Theater your one big passion?

"I was a great lover of Musical Theater until I went to Music Conservatory where I devoted myself to training for a career on the Opera stage. My current interests are centered on the areas of Public Speaking, Acting, and Entertainment. I have been a voice teacher for 25 years, teaching high school, college, and professional performers – Musical Theater, Opera, Jazz.  Additionally, I am a Performance Anxiety (stage fright) coach." ***sounds like a class I need for life in general***

3.Do you do any other work around Music?

"In all of my music teaching (classroom and voice) I incorporate the following disciplines: Music and the brain, Performance Anxiety and Stage Fright, Psychology of Performance, Arts and Learning, Creativity, Leadership, and Empowerment."

4. What courses do you recommend students in the Theater or Music department consider taking OUTSIDE of Music courses?

"I would recommend that all students in the Arts learn about how the brain functions – how we learn.  Most people find this to be a mystery, but it is important, practical, information that explains how and why we do what we do. Also, I can’t stress enough how important it is for an actor or singer to have a few Psychotherapy sessions!  Actors must be in touch with their life experiences in order to express emotion on stage. Therefore, talking to a Mental Health professional can help actors learn about themselves and thereby express emotions more freely."

5. What other fields do you think the Theater or Music industry closely connects with?

"Dance, Creativity, Arts Management, Psychology..."

6. Could you see yourself teaching anything else other than what you currently teach?

"I can see myself teaching many courses in the Music field.  I would like to teach a college level course in Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety. This important topic is so often overlooked yet most performers suffer from Stage Fright. The more we get in touch with our feelings and fears, the more we can grow as actors and singers."

Professor Nagorka inspires me in so many ways. I love that she has such a strong focus on Stage Fright and Anxiety because I struggled with going on stage in front of people in my history of performance (which is why it didn't last too long). I also feel like it's something performers tend not to admit or talk about because they know they have to look past these things, although Stage Fright is such a natural thing. But why not be honest about your insecurities so you can work on them?

Other than this, Eva seems to know what her true passions are and dedicates herself to them. She is not afraid to admit weaknesses, and instead of avoiding them, she wants to reach out to people and help them deal with the issue. I believe she is making a very important and powerful impact on many students in the Theater and Stage Performance department...


Now to get more personal. My dad has definitely influenced my Musical taste in a huge way.

There are certain songs I hear that just remind me of growing up and my childhood. The great part about it is- my dad and I have a very similar taste in music. We just like the same styles and on top of that we like playing the same types of music on guitar. Although we are no Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus- we can still enjoy the little pleasures of good music through listening and playing.

If there's anything I've ever wanted to ask my dad about Music it's this:

1. What did you grow up listening to?

"I listened to a lot of music. Some of my favorites where anything from the British invasion such as Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Supertramp and some progressive Rock such as Emerson Lake and Palmer! etc… Some of my favorite US bands where The Doors, The Cars, Aerosmith, Southern Rock, too many to list!"

2. Who in your personal life has influenced your music taste the most?

"I'd have to say it was bred into me from both of my parents, more of my father because he played piano."

3. Did you have a close relationship with any music teachers?

"Most every instrument I leaned to play was self-taught from ambition. My theory is the only and best knowledge is self-taught knowledge in any aspect of life. I didn’t have a favorite teacher. But I can tell you my Piano teacher tried to teach me well as I would practice a song for the week to impress him. At the end of the song, I would turn to him to seek his approval only to see he was sound asleep! That’s when I realized I’d be better off on my own!"

4. What made you want to learn the Piano and the Guitar?

"I was forced to take Classical Piano lessons at an early age and decided to mold my own route as I began to listen to a variety of music. I was not into athletics so it was the next best choice as I fell in love with music."

5. What does music mean to you?

"Relief and satisfaction!"

Thanks for answering my questions fathaaaa especially since this was so last minute hehe. And thank YOU for reading! :)

Tune in bi-weekly for more posts on Off The Record!


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