Education profiles WI
Michelle A. Kaebisch
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Years in current position: 2
Years in the field: 2
B.S. Instrumental Music Education
National Performing Arts Convention and the League of American Orchestras, plus teacher workshops and conventions
I taught elementary and high school orchestra classes for almost twelve years. I also have been a violinist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra since 1993. Through both of these positions, I became very familiar with the educational and community engagement programs that the MSO had to offer.
What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
Being so steeped in the world of public school education and coming into an administrative position, there were skills that I wasn’t using day-to-day in the classroom that I suddenly needed to develop. It was a huge learning curve! Also, my point of view on educational programing stems from my public school teaching experience, so I often find myself needing to explain why I am planning/doing a project a certain way and not the way it had been done in the past. Although, this is lessening.
What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
Having the teaching experience and playing in the orchestra really made this position seem like a natural next step. There are opportunities available in working for an orchestra that were not available to me through the public school.
What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
If you love classical music and working with people from all walks of life, you’ll probably enjoy working in orchestra management. For the Education Director position, having public school teaching experience does help in speaking the same language as the educators for whom you are preparing youth concert programming and educational materials. Being familiar with local, state, and national music education standards is also very important.
Any other advice?
It’s hard work, but very rewarding. There are excellent networking opportunities available and you’ll potentially be connected to people all over the country and all over the world.