Class and Staff Feature- Taylor Vazquez-Reyes
Taylor Vazquez-Reyes was born and raised in San Gabriel, where she attended Coolidge Elementary and graduated from Gabrielino High School. She started playing piano at the age of 4, and singing in the church choir at the age of 5. She received her BA in music education with an emphasis in choral conducting from the University of LaVerne, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree and teaching credential at California State University, Los Angeles. She has over 7 years of experience teaching elementary through high school music. In addition to being a part of the MIE staff, Mrs. Vazquez-Reyes (Mrs. V) is also the director of a K-12 choir at the Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel
Mrs. V is one of 20 instructors on the Music Immersion Experience Program. She is the Roosevelt Choral Director, and teaches choir to grades 1-5. In addition, she conducts the 4th/5th Grade "Singing Notes" choir elective class that meets 3 days a week, assists with the daily kindergarten music classes, and co-teaches the Musical Theater elective that meets once per week.
Mrs. Vazquez-Reyes believes that singing is something that everyone can do. She often says, “Even if you think to yourself, ‘I’m terrible at singing,’ I would say to you, give it time and you will LOVE it!”As the choral director at Roosevelt, her goal for all students is for them to not only enjoy the art of singing, but to fall in love with music. She said, “Music is a way to connect with one another without the use of words, and to have fun in the process.”
Every student at Roosevelt receives music lessons during their“fundamental” music period every day. Once per week, they are with Mrs. V in their grade level choir class, the rest of the week, they are either in their instrument group lessons, or percussion classes. The students also receive general music education during the school day that is integrated into their general education curriculum. All music classes are designed to function together in order to maximize student potential and reinforce what students are learning in their academic subjects. In addition, all students in grades 2-5 have the option of signing up for up to 3 music electives such as guitar, ukulele, handbell choir, percussion ensemble, the Singing Notes, and more.
As for musical goals for her students, Mrs. V expects that by the end of the school year, students in grades 3-5 should be able to sing any major scale using Solfege and Curwen hand signs. Grades K-2 will be able to sing in unison with proper vowel placement and diction. All singers will learn how to sing with emotion and purpose, as well as knowing proper breath control to achieve optimal sound.
“This program is a one of a kind opportunity and my hope is that these students begin to appreciate the positive affects music has in their lives. I hope they will go out in the world and continue sharing their love for music as they continue through school, and that they will find their own connection and comfort in the activity.”
When asked what her favorite part of teaching music at Roosevelt Elementary School, Mrs. V answered, “Besides the environment and the entire staff here, my students are my favorite part. Due to the uniqueness of this program, I get to see my students every day which is such a blessing. It gives me the chance to get to really know who they are as individuals and as musicians, and connect with each of them on a more personal level.”
When not working, Mrs. V loves to bake (ask her about her family recipe for pumpkin bread), dance (she regularly attends Zumba and hip hop classes), and to be outside in nature (ask her about her latest camping trip!).