When Erin Reilly ’16 was searching for a college, she knew she needed a school that would challenge her to become a better musician and educator as well as provide her a welcoming place to call home. Reilly found that place at Shenandoah.
“In my perspective, Shenandoah University has the best program for music education in Virginia. The conservatory faculty that I had the privilege to learn from have been so helpful in sharing their knowledge and giving me the tools necessary to become a successful educator and musician. In addition to the education I received from SU, the reason why I have a job today is because of the outstanding professional development that the music education department has exposed me to.”
In the fall, Reilly started her teaching career as an orchestra teacher in the Fairfax County Public School System. She is the assistant orchestra director at Centreville High School and an orchestra teacher at Willow Springs Elementary School. Both schools are advanced placement schools, which means they have highly gifted students that set high academic expectations for themselves and strive to be their personal best. Reilly feels very proud and fortunate to be able to educate such a group of bright and talented students.
Her advice to current students is to own your own education. “Don’t limit your learning by just going to class and studying. Talk to faculty, students and people you can learn from. Ask questions, find what intrigues you most and learn as much as you can about it. Go to the Virginia Music Educators Association conference (VMEA) and find your people. Make connections outside of SU because you never know who can help you get a job. Make friends and be a part of a support group that will study with you. Four years isn’t a lot of time to learn everything about your profession, so learn as much as you can and continue to learn even after you walk across the stage and get that piece of paper.”