Music Education Grad Shares His Insight & Advice

Sean Clancy music teacher.

Sean Clancy music teacher

Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story features alumnus Sean Clancy, and was captured by senior Iridian Gonzalez, journalism, before quarantine. 

Meet Sean Clancy, a 2014 graduate from the College of Performing Arts. Sean earned his bachelor’s in music education and a minor in dance studies. He teaches general music to elementary students, while singing professionally around the country as well. Today he will share with us his journey in becoming a music teacher and what he learned throughout the process.

How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music and Sean Clancy music teacher education?

“In high school I did New Jersey All-State and Regional chorus, it was just really inspiring. I was inspired by the people who conducted it and I always knew I wanted to get into education I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I noticed how it [music] affects your grade. It gives you a sense of responsibility and time management. And you’re always working in a team, it’s not a one-person thing, it’s about everyone succeeding.”

How did you like Rowan’s music and education departments?

“It was amazing, they have one of the best education departments in the country. I feel like we got so much experience with kids. From my freshman year we were working with kids and watching teachers. That’s what I like, the moment you are here you’re in the game.”

Sean said he liked how his first courses for music education all started at 8 a.m. because he said that if you can’t handle waking up that early to go to class then how are you going to wake up that early to teach.

“I have to be at work at 7:30, which means I’m up at 6. So, if you can’t handle getting to class by 8 you can’t handle being a teacher.”Sean Clancy music teacher

What does a typical day at work look for you?

“Now with my elementary job my day starts at 10 and ends at 3. I have a one in a half hour lunch break and that’s it.  I have duty at 8:20 and I am on duty until 8:50. Then from 8:50 to 10 I either have a meeting with my team or have prep time. Right now, we are in the spring concert mode, so we are learning the spring concert music and I love doing music from different languages, because that’s what I learned here [Rowan]. My third graders are doing a song in Japanese and my second graders are doing Nigerian. I find that kids are connecting. They might not like all the songs, but even if they like one part of one song then they will be in it for that.”

Any advice for students wanting to major in music education?

“They always tell you to take the job you get, if you get it just be grateful, Sean Clancy music teacher but they don’t tell you get the job your supposed to be in. My first job I got it at the wrong place. I left it mid-year; I didn’t like it. It was my first interview after college, and I got the job. I was like ‘dream job amazing’ but I had no support and I was doing too much, I was 22 teaching high school. I took the job, but that job wasn’t right for me, but of course I don’t regret it because I learned a lot and learned about myself. Learned how to get right up when you hit rock bottom. A year later I started working a part-time job in Belmawr, my hometown, trying to revive their chorus program and through that process I learned that I am a good teacher and that I could make an impact in kids and that I was just in the wrong place. Since then I’ve been a full-time teacher.”

Sean said that when you’re a musician your teachers become like your parents; they guide you through on how to make your instrument the best it can be.

“There’s such a special connection.”

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major

Photos courtesy of:
Sean Clancy/Jamie Jung Photography

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