Jen Schoener '90 - Music Education

Jen Schoener '90 - Music Education

Graduating from Millersville in 1990 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, Jennifer Schoener has been a director of bands in Eastern Lancaster County School District for over 25 years. In addition, she is now the executive director at the Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation, helping to generate and organize financial support for Upper Darby School District. During her time at Millersville, Schoener gained experience in student teaching, working with kindergarten students, and she eventually focused more on individual teaching. The music courses at Millersville prepared Schoener for her career in teaching; she recalled that, “a lot of schools wait too long to get their students involved, but Millersville was ahead of the game as they gave us those opportunities early on.”


What made you decide to come to Millersville University?
I grew up in Millersville and went to Penn Manor High School, so I knew a lot of the professors from my neighborhood. I started studying with Joel Behrens, my flute teacher at the time, in seventh grade, along with John Colangelo, the woodwinds professor at Millersville. They are both incredible musicians so I wanted to work with them more. 

What was one of your biggest accomplishments during your time at Millersville?
I was able to be a drum major for two years in the marching band. Also, working with the admissions office, I did tours for the university, which I really enjoyed since I grew up in the community. I was proud of both the university and the area.

Were you involved in any internships or student research during your time here?
Not necessarily internships, but I did student teaching. The music program was excellent because, during my freshman year, they had us working with kindergarten students, teaching for half an hour at a time. By sophomore year, we were doing more individual teaching. I think a lot of schools wait too long to get their students involved but Millersville was ahead of the game as they gave us those opportunities early on.

Were you involved in any student organizations or clubs?
As a music major, I was probably in every music organization that existed at the time, including jazz band, orchestra, and marching band. I was able to work within the community and with the local high schools 

How did Millersville’s Music Education program prepare you for your role as a music educator?
The courses themselves are excellent and gave me some of the best preparation for teaching I could get. The music program tried to incorporate everything possible into my education. Millersville made sure you learned every music group so that when you graduated you were proficient at everything.

Overall, how did Millersville get you to where you are today?
My first couple jobs were from smaller jobs I did through Millersville. They have a great outreach program with both local schools and the Lancaster area. When people would come to see our program, they would ask us questions and to come and teach their bands. That’s how I got my first few jobs. I did three one-year long substitute positions which eventually led me to a full-time position.

Why should students come to Millersville to study Music?
The community within the music department. They work hard for each individual student. You had attention from each professor who could tell you where you needed improvement. You didn’t feel like you were by yourself or lost in a big university. The professors genuinely cared about the direction I wanted to go. As a freshman it was important to feel that early on.