Explore. It’s a recurring theme that permeates the conversation when Allison Thayer talks about her work at Shuler Elementary in Clive.
As a general music teacher, she helps provide students with the basic building blocks of music, working to expand their knowledge and, hopefully, impart the desire to continue broadening their musical exploration after they’ve left her class.
“My No. 1 goal is for them to be lifelong learners and supporters of the arts,” says Thayer, who wants to instill an appreciation for music in her kids.
She particularly enjoys watching them learn about classical music. Thayer says she loves seeing their experience: listening to it, sharing what they hear and articulating what they think the composer was trying to portray.
But it’s being witness to their creative process at work that she takes the most delight in.
“My favorite thing to do is to just watch them create, and the pride for what they have created, and performing their piece for others,” she says.
Thayer’s decision to go into teaching was a combination of having a mom who’s a teacher and the impact of some very influential music educators on her life.
“My experience with my high school band director was the most influential,” Thayer says. “He was a positive role model in the music field and had a commitment to teaching his students.”
Thayer also performed with the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps from Dubuque. That experience helped solidify her passion and drive to become a music teacher.
A graduate of Wartburg College, Thayer has a bachelor’s in music education and music therapy. She uses that knowledge in music therapy both in and outside of her classroom.
At school, it allows her to help each student be successful in her class by finding the tools that work best for each child, she says. Thayer also works part-time with Alzheimer’s patients and kids with special needs.
More broadly, music benefits students by supporting all the other academic areas they study, the component of creativity, she says.
To create, to listen, to move, to explore music — those are the experiences Thayer strives to provide for her students.