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Who's Who: Amy Phillips

Name: Amy Phillips

Position & school(s): Elementary Morning Music Chorus Teacher, 6th Grade general music teacher, 8th Grade general music teacher

How long have you been teaching? 37 years. How long at Monticello? 25 years.

Where did you go to college? What degrees do you hold? 
I went to college at Indiana University where I received my BME (Bachelor of Music Education). I received my Master’s degree from SUNY/New Paltz in Teaching Reading.

Any awards/accomplishments? Any claims to fame? I sing small roles and chorus with 2 local opera companies: Hudson Valley Opera and Delaware Valley Opera.  I have sung in concerts in Pittsburgh (my hometown) and in New York. My brothers are somewhat famous violinists. They are the two violinist in the Orion String Quartet which is the Quartet in Residence at Lincoln Center in New York City. When I taught in a private school in Manhattan, one of my students was actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.

What’s your favorite part of your job? When a student learns enough skills to sing or perform a piece on the piano, recorder, or ukulele correctly with no help from me.

Why did you become a music teacher?  I wanted children to learn a love for music and to provide a good environment for that to happen. My own music teacher in elementary school was awful, and I didn’t want children to have to experience that kind of music class.

Did you do anything else before you became a music teacher?  I began teaching piano lessons when I was 14. I also did a lot of singing in operas and concerts

In your opinion, why do you think music education is important?  Music allows people to express their feelings and emotions in a nonverbal way. Also, I think music helps to develop good discipline for learning and good listening skills.

How has music influenced your life?  Coming from a musical family, I have never gone a day without music being a part of my life in some way. It brings me great joy and sometimes helps me heal by expressing my anger or sadness through the music.

Who is your favorite musician? 
Of course, my brothers: Danny & Todd Phillips. My favorite singer is an opera singer from the 1920’s named Amelita Galli-Curci.

What CD is in your CD player right now?  I actually mostly listen to audiobooks. When I listen to music, it is most often a piece of music or opera that I will be performing soon.

What are your hobbies?  Singing in operas, knitting, hiking, pilates, playing computer games, and reading.

What advice would you offer to an aspiring musician?  Practice. A lot. And join a chorus, orchestra, or band. Join a chamber group or play duets with other musicians. It is important to learn how to make music with other people and it is really fun.

Anything else you’d like to add?  If you aren’t good at playing an instrument or singing, remember that you can always be a good listener. Musicians can’t perform without an audience, so you can always be an educated audience member and enjoy the skills that others possess. They can’t be there without you!