I got to sit down and have a conversation with Tokay Allen, a teacher at Kidznotes and music teacher at Club Boulevard Elementary. During my conversation with Tokay I was able to learn what it is like to be music educator and what it takes to become a music educator. The information I received will always stick with me as I go down the path to become a music educator.
As a young child Tokay received a toy piano for Christmas and her mother saw potential when it came to playing the piano. After a year of her parents discussing, she received piano when she was six years old and took piano lessons. In middle school she became interested in the flute and joined her middle school band in the eighth grade.
Tokay attended North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham, North Carolina then Towson University in Towson, Maryland. She started as a psychology major but then switched over to music education. She chose to attend NCCU because her family members had attended in previous years and she wanted to be close to home since she was from Durham. After graduating from NCCU Tokay attended Towson University while there she enjoyed taking music history and learning how music has evolved since the middle ages. In order for her to graduate and perform well during her recital she had to work very hard and practice a lot. She also had to discipline herself by not going out and staying in to study more so she could keep her priories in check.
Tokay taught students in Baltimore City and is currently teaching students in Durham Public Schools. The difference for her teaching Baltimore City students and Durham students were the behavior challenges and the class sizes were smaller in Durham. She found it difficult to keep her students interested while teaching them music. As she is teaching she hopes all her students will become more appreciative of all music cultures. Seeing students passionate about music as much as she is it make her proud and she wants to encourage them. Her students enjoy the Orff instruments, a set of pitched percussion instruments with removable bars, they want to run up and play them whenever they are out in class.
I asked Tokay what is the first thing that comes to mind when she hears the word music and she responded “Whitney Houston”. Whitney Houston is her favorite singer of all time and she believes that there is not anyone that has out done Whitney. I asked Tokay for advice for someone, like myself, who is passionate about music and wants to become a music educator, she told me to follow your heart and heart and attend a range of concerts of different cultures to reinforce your desire of music. I’ll enforce her advice by going to free concerts they have on NCCU’s campus and talking to students who are on the path to becoming a music educator.