Raelene Jones ‘19

Major: Music Education
Hometown: Bedford, Ohio

Member of The Purple Raider Marching Band, Kappa Kappa Psi, Honors Program, OCMEA, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Steel Band, and Wind Ensemble.

Choosing Mount Union
Several people from my hometown as well as a few of my high school teachers had attended Mount Union, and they always spoke passionately about their days here and how much they enjoyed it. At first I had my sights set on attending a larger state institution after high school. However, after visiting Mount Union’s campus one time, I was intent on becoming part of the Mount community. After having conversations with both students and faculty, I realized that I wouldn’t just be a number in a classroom, but that I would be able to build meaningful relationships with both my professors and fellow peers.

I received the Presidential Scholarship to attend Mount Union. If it weren’t for my receiving of the Presidential Scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Mount Union at all. To this day I am still grateful for the opportunity to have been a recipient of the scholarship, because without it I would have missed out on all the experiences I’ve had through Mount Union.

Favorite Aspects of Mount Union
My favorite part of Mount Union are all of the academic opportunities there are available. It’s so easy to build a professional relationship with the faculty, and they are all willing to give access to internships and career development opportunities to their students. The general attitude of the student body makes Mount Union feel like home. Everyone is friendly and there’s a true sense of community; there’s always a smiling face wherever you look!

Adjusting to Campus Life
Members of the marching band helped me adjust to college life the most. I arrived on campus a couple weeks before my first semester for band camp, and even though I was feeling extremely nervous about starting college, it was comforting that on the first day of classes I already had 100 friends that I had spent time with that I knew would be there to help me with anything I needed.

What Sets Mount Union Apart
Mount Union is different in the sense of variety of disciplines that every student is encouraged to explore and integrate into their own academic path. One of my favorite academic courses (Introduction to Philosophy) was one completely outside of my music education major, but a lot of the concepts that were discussed in the course are transferrable to creating my education philosophy and ideals I will incorporate in my classrooms in the future.

Advice for Future Students
I would definitely recommend new prospective students should get involved. There’s plenty of opportunities and groups on campus, and one of them is bound to be your home. Whether you join a club or participate in sort of service, there’s a calling for everyone at Mount.

Majoring in Music Education
I had always considered pursuing music education during high school; however it was a conversation with Dr. French that convinced me to choose it as a career path. I want to work with young people through means of music-making and helping to teach them life lessons through ensemble experiences and working with their peers to succeed musical goals. Music is a part of everyone’s lives whether they realize it or not, and I want to use it in a way to impact generations to come.

Experiential Learning
My most meaningful learning experience has been my work as the Head Drum Major for the Purple Raider Marching Band. I hope to work as a band director after graduation, so being able to work with peers in a capacity somewhat similar to a band director is extremely rewarding while being educational at the same time. It’s like hands-on learning that provides immediate feedback everyday.

Classroom Learning
My FYS course was based on heroes of social justice, and through that class I developed an interest in social justice and peace-building studies. This field definitely ties into music education, because the open-mindedness that one needs to be successful in conflict resolution and peace-building is applicable to teaching students and having and open mind with them. My favorite class so far has been World Music and Ethnographic Music Study with Professor Neitzke. In the course we explored music from cultures from all over the world, and were encouraged to experience these types of music while removing our own ethnocentricity so we could better understand and appreciate it. We even had the opportunity to practice African drumming as a class, and it was amazing to not just learn about the music, but to perform it as well.

Faculty Attention
My favorite professor here at Mount Union is Dr. Cook. Dr. Cook is the director of the Concert Choir, and he encouraged me to audition for the ensemble even though I was extremely nervous to sing in a group of talented musicians. In rehearsals with him, I have learned how to find beauty in everything and use music as a way to find inner peace and happiness even during the most stressful of times. He has become my greatest role model, both from a career and humanity viewpoint.

Liberal Arts Education
Engaging in a liberal arts education allows you to approach everything in your own profession with a more open mind. It also opens up possibilities for problem-solving from an approach used in other disciplines that aren’t necessarily practiced in your own profession regularly. The Integrative Core has given me an appreciation for nearly every other discipline (natural sciences, social sciences, the humanities, and the arts). It has made me a better professional already by giving me opportunities to do research in other disciplines and present my findings in a manner that is appropriate for those disciplines. All of the research required has only allowed me to improve my public speaking skills, an essential skill for any teacher.

Career Goals
My ultimate career goal would be to return back to the university level as a band director after working in public education for a decade or so. The professors at Mount are helping to prepare me for that goal by clearly defining all of the possible paths and graduate studies I will have to complete to reach that level in my career, as well as giving me supplemental materials and information that will better prepare me for graduate studies. 

Engaging in a liberal arts education allows you to approach everything in your own profession with a more open mind.

Fun Facts

Where is your favorite travel destination?
I love visiting the city of Chicago.
What is your favorite holiday, and why?
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite…it’s always the one meal a year I look forward to.
What is your favorite quote or motto?
“That you are here—that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” —Tom Schulman in Dead Poet’s Society
What is your guilty pleasure movie/TV show/song?
The entire Jonas Brothers discography
What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?
I constantly went in between wanting to be a zookeeper that got to wash the elephants with giant push broom and a NASCAR driver.
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