Urbandale Middle School is to its seventh and eighth grade instrumental music teacher Daphne Monson what a favorite song is to a music aficionado: a timeless hit.
Over the years, it has grown on her in a number of ways. Years ago, Monson was a student there playing flute. Now in her 13th year of teaching music in the Urbandale Community School District, she has an even deeper appreciation of her alma mater and its students.
“I’ve come full circle,” says Monson, who graduated from Urbandale High School in 1995 before earning her college degree. “I love working with every middle school student I meet in the building. I love the amount of development students can make in that amount of time that I get to teach them. They are at a fun age because they are developing their personalities.”
As a former band student, Monson also understands the intrinsic value of participating in music programs.
“I loved band when I was in school. It was where my friends were, and it was the kind of people I wanted to be around,” she says.
These days, Monson is surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people. When she isn’t teaching a full load of music classes, she is busy organizing concerts throughout the year for middle students. She also coordinates music events that include middle and high school students.
“We do a lot of concert sharing. Which is good,” she says.
In January, Monson will direct concerts for the eighth grade band (Jan. 8), sixth and seventh grade bands (Jan. 24) and the Urbandale Middle and High School Band Summit (Jan. 26), as well as lead groups at the Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center’s Jazz Festival (Jan. 12).
“I love the opportunity to share music with students and to help them improve,” says Monson.