Salve Success: Joy Pye ’20, music education major
Article by Emily Whelan ’20
Joy Pye ’20 is a lifelong talented musician. She can play the French horn, trumpet, trombone, ukulele, guitar and piano, among other instruments, quite well. She always knew that she wanted a job where she could combine her passion for music and her love of performing, so when she came across Salve Regina’s music education program when she was in high school, it seemed like the perfect fit. Pye fell in love with the school despite the inclement weather that accompanied all of her visits to campus.
“I remember thinking, ‘If the school looks this good on a bad day, I can’t imagine what it looks like on a good day.’ ” She was sold by the tight-knit community and the warm welcome she received by Peter Davis, chairman of the music department. After a lunch with members of the program, Pye committed to Salve.
Student teaching remotely during coronavirus
As a senior music education major, Pye has spent her spring semester student teaching in both elementary and high schools. For the first half of the semester, she had a typical experience student teaching at Portsmouth High School. Her last day at the high school in March just so happened to be Rhode Island’s last day of school for the remainder of the academic year.
Since then, her student teaching experience has been anything but typical.
“I’ve been fortunate to do half my student teaching normally and half virtually,” said Pye, who is now virtually teaching grades K through 5 at the Bristol-Warren elementary schools.
Her days start at 8 a.m. and end late at night when she finishes lesson planning, grading assignments and creating videos for more than 300 students. Like all students and teachers, adjusting to online learning has been difficult. Pye uses platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom, Flipgrid and Seesaw every day, which she admits were challenging to first learn how to use. One of the hardest adjustments for Pye though has been not being able to meet her students face to face.
Video: Pye recorded videos and used online platforms to bring music education to students during the pandemic.
“I have to learn students’ names and their classroom teachers and sometimes even parents’ names. All of whom I’ve never seen in person – it’s hard to learn all of this and make connections online,” she said. “I have definitely learned the importance of interacting face to face with students to convey a lesson.”
Despite the challenges, there are also important lessons coming from virtual student teaching. Pye has discovered that depending on each student’s learning style, some of them are having an easier time with remote learning than they were in the school classroom. “Some students are thriving in all of this,” she said.
For the last few weeks, Pye has been very engaged with all of her students leading their lessons, creating videos and grading their work. She creates choice boards for her students and allows them to select an activity from it to do during the week. The activities include things such as setting up a movie night with their family to watch a musical or making up a dance to a song. They can submit their responses in a variety of ways – from videos to audio recordings to writing a few sentences – on the platforms that the class has been using.
Looking back at music education at Salve Regina
Pye was prepared to take on these student-teaching assignments thanks to the music department in Angelus Hall, which became her second home throughout college. Throughout the last four years, she was a member of the Newport Community Symphonic Band, University Chorus, Madrigals Chorus, jazz band, jazz ensemble, orchestra and Mixtapes acapella group. Additionally, she was the president of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME), a group that advocates for music education, and on the e-board of Student Music Ensembles Club (SMEC). Dr. Winterbottom-Shadday, her private lesson teacher and clinical educator, and Dr. Don St Jean, associate professor and program coordinator, have become mentors to Pye.
“We are all very proud of Joy, and how she has adapted from classroom teaching to teaching online,” said St. Jean. “As her supervisor in Music Education, I have been impressed with the quality of the work that she is producing, and thankful to Mrs. Winterbottom-Shadday for her guidance during this challenging time in education.”
Pye has big plans for the future. After graduating, she plans to return to Australia, where she studied abroad her junior year. After some traveling, she hopes to move from her home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Hawaii, where she dreams to finally have her own music classroom.
Each Thursday, SALVEtoday will provide tips for success as well as success stories of current students and alumni to encourage and uplift the University community during this time of remote living and learning. #salvesgotthis #salvesuccess