Teacher of the Month: Century director makes musical memories
Amanda Kaus, director of Century Panther Bands, is the Post Bulletin Teacher of the Month for November.
Family/hometown: I am the youngest of 10 children who were born and raised in Browns Valley, Minn.
Best or favorite part of your day?
The highlight of each day is when students arrive and begin to fill the classroom as they bring so much energy with them. I look forward to greeting students each day as they make their way down to the band room, and I enjoy the opportunity to interact with them on that individual level, before we begin our work as a larger group.
It’s a special treat to have many students for all four years of their high school career and build connections with them that carry on after graduation.
What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
I have very fond memories of making music in ensembles as a student and formed many great connections with others through my involvement in music.
From my early experiences in piano lessons and then playing in band, music has always played an important role in my life, and I’m very thankful that my parents involved all of their children in music and found opportunities for us to experience music through various concerts and lessons.
I simply want to help other students find that same sense of enjoyment and accomplishment through creating music with their peers.
What is one thing you want your students to retain from their days with you?
I hope students leave Century Panther Bands with memories of making great music with their peers. Whether it is playing on the stadium field on a Friday night or performing concert literature in the auditorium, I want the students to be proud of their efforts and contributions to the larger group.
The band is successful through their collective efforts and their willingness to work together, just two of many life skills that they experience through their involvement with the band and that will help them be successful in any avenue they pursue.
I also hope they develop a deeper appreciation of music and continue to find ways to make music a part of their life as it can be a wonderful lifelong skill that allows us to connect with one and other.
Do you have a teaching ‘philosophy’? What is it?
Students have so many opportunities to grow as individuals through their involvement in music, and part of my work is helping them find the value and enjoyment in pursuing those opportunities.
I believe that it is important for me to invest in the students, so that they will in turn invest in the program. Our rehearsals strive to be a safe place where students can push themselves in developing their musicianship and many other skills, yet recognize that we will make mistakes in the process and those mistakes serve to inform the work that we have ahead of us.
The most memorable thing that’s happened in your classroom is?
Sometimes the most engaging or moving performances of a particular piece of music don’t occur during the concert, and things simply click for a number of reasons during a rehearsal to create goose bump-worthy moments.
There is something special about creating music with students and developing their ability to express themselves musically that creates many special moments within the ensemble. Those moments range from the pride of playing the fight song after a big win to performing a piece of music written in memory of individuals who have lost their lives. Being able to share in those moments with students is always special and memorable.