Erin Kauppila

Area of Study: Music Education
Current City: Oxford, PA
Graduation Date: 2002
Current Occupation: Director of Instrumental Music, Oxford Area High School

Why did you choose WCU and/or the School of Music? 
In the summer of 1996, I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to attend the WCU High School Summer Music Camp.  It was there that I met WCU trumpet professor, Dr. Kenneth Laudermilch.  Soon after camp ended, I began private study with him.  I knew that I wanted to pursue music education in college and wanted to continue my studies with Dr. Laudermilch, so WCU was the obvious choice for me. 

How has the quality of education you received from WCU and/or School of Music prepared you for life after graduation?
I left WCU fully confident that I was ready to begin my teaching career.  Our music education professors provided us with a strong background of methodologies appropriate for all levels of teaching, the ability to lesson plan effectively, and the encouragement needed to take on a position right out of college.  The applied faculty pushed us to become excellent musicians and gave us the opportunity to perform great repertoire.  Our theory and history professors provided a foundation of knowledge that we are all using in our teaching today.  Together, the faculty at WCU continues to build outstanding music educators and continues to support those educators through working with our students and providing excellent graduate opportunities. 

What is a typical day like for you?
Each day, I teach 2 sections of beginning guitar, advanced guitar, music theory, concert band, and symphonic band.  The marching and jazz bands rehearse either after school or in the evening.  In the winter months, I am the drama music director so I can often be found at musical rehearsal or working with the pit orchestra.  I am also the Director of Youth Music at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, a Performance Supervisor at Longwood Gardens, and I play trumpet in the Chester County Pops Orchestra so I definitely keep myself busy!  When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two sons.  

What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
You are choosing a highly competitive and a highly rewarding field.  Absorb as much as information as you can, work hard and stay focused, and don't be afraid to ask for help!  Continue to work hard on your musicianship and spend a lot of time in a practice room.  Every great music teacher that I know is also a great musician!

What advice would you give to our graduating seniors?
As you move into the work force, build as many professional relationships as you can.  The best way to become a great teacher is to learn from other great teachers.  Become active in your local music educators association. Attend conferences and go to sessions.  I'm sure the last thing you want to do is take another class, but start your graduate degree right away.  Never stop learning!  

What makes the WCU School of Music standout to you? 
The WCU School of Music is a very special place.  Although it is a part of large institution, the faculty at the School of Music really care about each individual student.  It is a nurturing and encouraging environment with a focus on excellence in all areas of music.  

What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or School of Music?
My fondest memories of college are from late night practice sessions in Swope Hall.  There were quite a few "night dwellers" who became very close friends and are still friends today!

Back to top of page.