Disciplined Musician, Dedicated Teacher
Music Education major Jonathan Bernhard ’17 has a teaching method that might surprise you. It’s simple: say hello to students in the cafeteria. Ask them how their field hockey game went. Say, “Oh, you’re on the lacrosse team? I played lacrosse in middle school too. What position do you play?” If you simply relate to students, Bernhard says, they’ll be more engaged and learn better.
Talking about the sports his students play serves another purpose too. “The discipline of being a musician is the same discipline you use being an athlete,” Bernhard tells the students in his orchestra and choir classes. In both sports and music, students have to pay attention to physical technique, and work together as a team to perform well.
At Immaculata, Bernhard has participated both in team sports and musical ensembles. He played on IU’s lacrosse team during his freshman year, and he sings tenor in the chorale, plays violin in the Immaculata Symphony, participates in the guitar ensemble, and he was chosen to play the piano and sing the alma mater for Immaculata’s awards gala this fall.
“He practices tirelessly,” said William Carr, DMA, Steinway Artist and chair of the Music Department at Immaculata. “He has all three dimensions of what a musician needs: drive, discipline, and dedication.” Echoing what Bernhard tells his students, Carr added, “I think that’s true of athletes too. I think there’s a great commonality between the arts and athletes on that level.”
You can see Bernhard’s drive, discipline, and dedication from his list of accomplishments: he was president of the Pennsylvania Collegiate Music Educators Association and wrote articles for the group’s magazine; he wrote what Carr called a graduate-level research paper, applying a music theory concept to 20th century music history; and the Music Department faculty selected him to receive three different scholarships, most recently, the Margraf Family Scholarship for Music Education.
The generous financial aid Immaculata offered was a determining factor in Bernhard’s decision to attend Immaculata. “It ends up costing about the same as if I were to go to a state school, when you factor everything in,” he said. And he has enjoyed the one-on-one time he has had with his music teachers—an opportunity he might not have had at a large public institution.
“He’s a very complete musician,” said Carr, “and, I think, as a teacher, all of those skill sets are going to serve to his advantage.”