Jonathan Bast is an elementary music teacher in Elgin School District U-46 .  Bast teaches general music to about 600+ students a week at Hillcrest Elementary school and participates in both school and district committees.

(Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Bast)

(Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Bast)

Bast has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music, majoring in music education from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Those degrees have been followed by numerous professional development classes from various local colleges.

What are the scope and responsibilities of your current role?

“I teach general music to all the students at Hillcrest Elementary school. I see each class once a week for 40 minutes and prepare each grade level for a spring or fall performance. I have an after school Chorus which meets once a week which culminates in a special performance at school. This year I will be helping to create a program which will use the Arts as a tool to help students with the social and emotional growth. I am very excited at the possibilities of this program. In addition to that, I’m working with my art teacher colleague, Cindy Walker, Fine Arts Coordinator Alicia Kopec and Rise Jones of Hamilton Wings on a grant we received from the IACA (Illinois Arts Council Agency) to integrate the Arts with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) subjects.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“Working with my kids, watching their faces light up as they discover how to understand music and how it fits into their life is wonderful.” 

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“Yes and No. I planned to be a high school choir director. My second teaching job was in a small Minnesota town where I taught music K-12. It was there I discovered that I loved working with elementary age children more than middle or high school students. So, I went back to college and concentrated on Elementary Music Education for my master’s degree. I wanted to make sure that I was fully prepared for the change I was about to make. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. This is my 30th year in Elgin and I still love it!”

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

“I would advise future music teachers to choose a college that has a great Music Education department. Then, participate in as many musical experiences as they can. Talk to other music teachers and observe them at work. Most importantly, be open to change. Music education is constantly evolving and so will you. Embrace the change.”

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of CraftKitsForKids.com and MichelleGuilbeau.com Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.