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Class Notes: Alumnus tapped to teach in Ravinia program

When Ravinia, the oldest outdoor music festival in the U.S., decided to expand its Sistema Ravinia orchestral music program to underserved youths in Lake County, they turned to Lake Forest College for help.

“Initially, we wanted help to recruit instructors,” said Christine Taylor, Ravinia’s director of the Reach*Teach*Play education program. But after meeting with Assistant Professor of Music Scott Edgar–whose area of research centers on how music affects people both socially and emotionally –a true partnership has blossomed. 

“We realized pretty quickly that not only could we establish a place to potentially recruit instructors for our program in the future, but we could develop a partnership with the College because of its music education program,” she said.

Enter Nate Rhodes ’09, who will receive his master’s in music education in 2017. Ravinia hired Rhodes as a cello instrument specialist for the Sistema Ravinia program. He is the only Lake Forest College alum or student working in the Ravinia education program in this landmark opportunity.

“The College’s music education program, in general, has been an amazing experience for me,” Rhodes said, “and the Sistema Ravinia program has been a fantastic addition to my work experience and resumé.”

Preparing his own lesson plans and seeing firsthand what about his teaching style is effective “has been huge for my development as a teacher,” Rhodes said.

Through Lake Forest’s partnership with Ravinia, Rhodes is receiving “the most realistic field work experience possible,” Edgar said. “He is teaching before he has graduated. This shows that, even though we’re a relatively young music education program, we’re doing good work here.”

Sistema Ravinia fosters social development though exceptional music training for underserved third through eighth grade students in Lake County and Chicago public schools.