Jillian Baker

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2012
Holland, MI

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Since graduating I have been teaching music in Hudsonville, MI (maternity leave position) Champaign, IL (2 years) and currently I am teaching in Chicago, IL at Hayt Elementary as a K-8 General Music Teacher.  I have also started my masters' degree at the University of Illinois and plan to graduate in December 2016 with a MA in Educational Administration and Leadership as a licensed public school principal.  

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
I cannot begin to describe how influential my time at the RCAH has been in my teaching career.  In teaching, I have had students from all walks of life, cultures, and languages. My current school has a very high number of refugee students who are non-native English speakers.  The RCAH prepared me by teaching me about immigrant experiences, the concept of transculturation, characteristics of different languages, and a curiosity to learn more ethno-musicology to inform my teaching and include my students' culture in my teaching practice. 

What were your academic interests in RCAH? 
Music was my first love, and I enjoyed learning more about the music of Zimbabwe within the RCAH, but I was thrilled to learn more about art, history, literature and languages within the RCAH curriculum. I am especially interested in how different art forms have influenced one another throughout history, and looking at the bigger picture of their impact on various cultures and societies. 

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience? 
There are so many wonderful memories, but I especially loved taking every single course offered by Professor Aronoff, and his ability to make even "Moby Dick" thrilling.  Despite my original misgivings, like Ahab, I have become a bit obsessed with seeing the great white whale everywhere! 

Other highlights include learning how to use a letterpress, and making my own alphabet book with Anita Skeen, playing an Mbira concert in the LookOut Gallery, and having philosophical quiet conversations with Scot Yoder about the life of a music major and life's mysteries. 

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?
I studied abroad during the Summer of 2008, in Bregenz, Austria.  I had the time of my life as I saw the best opera of my life on Lake Bodensee (where they filmed a scene in "Quantum of Solace"), traipsed through the Alps singing songs from "The Sound of Music," and saw an unbelievable amount of art.  

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
-Go on study abroad.  

-Do not miss out on opportunities available to you (I missed Margaret Atwood's appearance at MSU for an opera rehearsal and will always regret it!)

-Take a class in something you are not quite sure about. It will expand your horizons in ways you can't imagine.

-When you become overwhelmed, schedule an appointment with Scot and you will without a doubt feel better. 

-Support your fellow RCAHers in their art, studies, and extra events.  

-And finally, being a teacher now... GO TO CLASS!