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#MyWheaton Alumni Blog

Posted June 21, 2017 by
Tags: Young Alumni The Liberal Arts Conservatory


I chose to attend Wheaton College because, along with being an evangelical Christian college, it has a music conservatory. Wheaton is one-of-a-kind in that regard. Looking back, I am astonished with the scope of my music education at Wheaton. The classes I took were rigorous and prepared me to succeed in graduate school and my career. One class in particular that really shaped me was Dr. Kathy Kastner’s 20th Century Music course. She taught me to think critically and speak intelligently about music that was completely unfamiliar to me. This skill translates beyond music to any new life experience. Despite feeling unsure or uncomfortable, I feel I can examine new ideas objectively and find a vocabulary to describe them.

For four years before my current job, I was an orchestra director in a large, diverse public high school. Transitioning to an elite private middle school was a big challenge! I had to re-create my curriculum and learn how to motivate and connect with students in a very different culture. It’s still a work in progress, but the unique personalities, backgrounds, and learning styles of each student are what make me excited and passionate about my work. Now, I teach full-time at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas as their 5th-8th grade Strings Teacher. After school and on the weekends, I teach private violin and viola lessons through Austin Suzuki Music School. Additionally, I conduct one of the Austin Youth Orchestras and enjoy performing with local orchestras and community programs. I make a living doing what I love, and I will never take that for granted!

Wheaton College developed me as a musician and shaped my abilities and knowledge; I have been able to accomplish my goals thanks to my Wheaton education. More than that, Wheaton shaped my walk with Christ. I have a deeper understanding of the Bible and who God is. I understand denominational differences and how people interpreted Scripture throughout history. I have felt the joy and vulnerability of Christian friendships. My local state university could never have provided these opportunities.

I worked so hard as a Wheaton student; I earned a double major and a minor and maxed out my schedule every semester. I wanted to get the most out of my education and I had the time and energy to do so.

To current students, take advantage of everything you can; there are so many opportunities at your fingertips.

Rachel Ringeisen ’09was a music performanceand music with an emphasis in pedagogy double major at Wheaton. She now teaches full-time at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School as their 5th-8th grade Strings Teacher in addition to teaching private violin and viola lessons through Austin Suzuki Music School on the weekends, conducting one of the Austin Youth Orchestras, and performing with local orchestras and community programs. Photo captions (from top): some of Rachel’s students in class; Rachel leading a class

To connect with alumni in various careers and vocations nationwide, join Wheaton in Network, a Vocation and Alumni Engagement program that allows alumni and parents to make themselves available to advise or mentor Wheaton students and recent grads. Students and alumni are able to contact advisers or mentors to learn from their experiences.