ISSUE 1: Junior Takes On The Role As the Orchestra Teacher

A student at Robinson takes on the role as the orchestra teacher

Julia Guillermo, Staff Writer

Walking into Open house; IB Junior, Vianca Ramirez expected to see a familiar face in the orchestra room, but instead, she walked into her fourth new orchestra teacher in three years. With last year’s orchestra teacher, Mr. Sanchez, transferring to Coleman; the orchestra was introduced to a new teacher, Ms. Stow. While they had a teacher present, Ms. Stow had little experience in orchestra, leaving Ramirez to take on the responsibilities of directing her class. While Ramirez and her peers were finely adjusting to their new teacher, Ms. Stow had put in her two-week notice, which left Ramirez in a position to teach her classmates for the remainder of the first quarter. 

Within the last three years of Ramirez attending Robinson, her orchestra experience has been nothing short of normal. While, Ramirez has had more orchestra teachers than the time she has been in high school, her passion for playing the violin has remained the same. However, Ramirez makes it apparent that it has become less and less feasible, as the teaching is inconsistent.

“My experience in Robinson orchestra has been a roller coaster of both good and bad. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve been able to do these past 3 years, but also disappointed in the lack of communication and support that comes with our school orchestra.” Ramirez said.

Ramirez has been in the orchestra since the start of her sixth-grade year. However, her interest in music actually began at a young age, as she found a passion for playing the violin. Ramirez took up the violin almost eight years ago and has continued to play for the Robinson orchestra.

“I began playing the violin because I knew I loved music from a young age and have always wanted to play a string instrument,” Ramirez said.

 An IB Junior, Kristina Nguyen, is one of Ramirez’s orchestra partners, as well as friend. Nguyen discusses how Ramirez has done a profound job at maintaining a functional classroom environment, while also balancing her own responsibilities.

“Vianca has conducted our music several times in class, and she has helped us with notes or measures that we struggle with. She also has been very bright and enthusiastic to start the class each day, ready to learn new pieces,” Nguyen said. “ I have learned from Vianca that it takes a lot to be a student leader but as students, we must persevere and never give up because any opportunity given to us can lead to a better and greater one.” 

For Ramirez, it is important that she and her peers continue practicing their instruments, despite not having a teacher to conduct their class. Without a conductor, it makes it difficult for students to remain focused, while also working on improving their musical skills, but Ramirez has made it a priority that she and her peers are staying on task.

“Being in an orchestra, or any music elective for that matter requires individual practice in order to succeed. This has been especially important for us because we don’t have a teacher,” Ramirez said. 

When asked about being the director of the class, Ramirez was opposed to this title, and rather discussed how she has been more than willing to help assist her peers, in any way she can. With Ramirez having more than enough experience in orchestra, she has been able to benefit from keeping the classroom running.

“I wouldn’t call myself a director. I just try and help out the orchestra in any way I can. It has been hard to play as a group without a proficient conductor or teacher to guide us, but we still make it work,” Ramirez said. 

Although Ramirez isn’t a teacher, she has been doing an excellent job leading her class. During an unfortunate time like this, Ramirez has continued to stay optimistic, despite the circumstance she has been presented with.

“Despite not having a teacher, us orchestra students remain in high spirits. We find ways to practice together and maintain our orchestra community,” Ramirez said. 

IB Junior, Drew Zacharias, is another classmate of Ramirez, who has expressed how Ramirez has graciously led her class for the past two weeks. Zacharias expresses that as an instrumental group, every person has their own obligations they are responsible for, which is why Ramirez found it important to stay persistent when it came to practicing their musical pieces.

“Vianca has done a great job directing and keeping our class together during the two weeks we had no teacher. She has helped organize the different sections together and helping us maintain our learning until our new teacher came. She really displayed leadership during a time where we needed one and I find that very inspiring for the rest of the orchestra,” Zacharias said.