Life as a Teaching Artist: Andre Cardine ’18

April 23, 2019
Phoebe Pan ’20
Andre Cardine, Thoebeka Mnisi, Afia Ofori-Mensa, Niya Smith, and Brian Cabral stand next to each other with their arms around each other in the King building
From left to right: Andre Cardine ’18, Thobeka Mnisi ’18, Afia Ofori-Mensa, Niya Smith ’18, and Brian Cabral ’18 at the Office of Undergraduate Research Senior Symposium Photo credit: Courtesy of Andre Cardine

Andre Cardine ’18 provides mentorship to students while also setting an example of how to navigate the world as a creative individual.

Where have you been working and what have your postgraduate experiences been like?

I am currently a music teacher and teaching artist at three different locations. One is a Catholic school, named St. Margaret of Scotland, where I teach music classes for pre-K to 8th-grade students. The second is a visual and performing arts center named Gallery 37, where I am a choir instructor for high school students. The third job, and the most recent, is at Beverly Arts Center, where the work is more freelance-based: I go to schools around the city and host music-related workshops for students. It certainly has been challenging at points. At the grammar school, I teach over 200 kids over the course of two days, but I’ve learned to adjust to teaching various age groups. I love teaching at the downtown location because I was in the same choir during high school.

Were you always interested in musical studies? Did any of your experiences at Oberlin lead to your current job?

I had always planned on being a musical studies major, since my freshman year. At the time, I had wanted to be a better singer, but I didn’t want to be a classical voice major. I wanted to develop a sound that felt unique to me, and it just seemed like musical studies was the best route to go. Working on summer projects with OCRF (Oberlin College Research Fellowship) helped me understand that my passion is a peculiar combination of artistry, community engagement, and education. I also developed a love for ethnomusicology because of Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology Fredara Hadley. Her courses were a big reason why I strongly considered grad school for this upcoming fall.

Do you have any advice for current students who are looking to get into music and teaching-related fields?

Apply to as many jobs and internships as possible in your senior year! I knew that I wanted to be employed by the time I got out of undergrad because I thought that would be easier than trying to wait until after college to find a job. I applied to around 10 different music teaching jobs, and half of those places offered me an interview right out of college. In Chicago specifically, music teachers are surprisingly in demand. It also helps if you go to art centers like Gallery and Beverly Arts to see if they are seeking to hire teaching artists. It might help to get a music teaching certification so you can be paid better. You have your whole life to work, though, and I think it’s harder to want to go back to school after so many years.

You're a part of the CLR collective with Kiéla Nelson ’18 and Daniella Pruitt ’19. What's it been like working with fellow Obies?

Kiela, Daniella, and I have known each other since high school. We sang in the HHW Vocal Arts ensemble in downtown Chicago. I enjoy working with both Daniella and Kiela because we’ve been close friends a long time and we’ve had time to understand how to best work together. I love our trio because everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and we help balance each other out well. I’m excited to see what we do within the next few years!

Andre will be attending Longy School of Music's Master of Arts in Teaching program in Los Angeles, California, this upcoming academic year. He will be working toward a Master of Arts in music education and becoming a certified music teacher in California.

Follow Andre’s work

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