Brown School Hires New Music Educator with Strong Performance Background

Sep 28, 2020

Media Coverage

Brown School Hires New Music Educator with Strong Performance Background

Hannah Dick, a Capital Region resident, was a Fulbright Scholar, Empire State Youth Orchestra Lois Lyman Concerto Competition winner and participated in the Global Leaders Program

(Schenectady, NY) – When longtime and beloved music teacher, Jonina Wilkins, stepped down from her position at Brown School at the end of last school year to move to Iceland, the administration knew they had big shoes to fill. Brown School has always had a magnificent music program, so they wanted the position to be held by an educator that shares their values when it comes to the arts.

This past summer they found an incredible new educator, originally from the Capital Region, with a strong music performance background that has taken her around the world. Many remember Hannah Dick from her breathtaking concerto competition performance with the Empire State Youth Orchestra several years ago. Following the performance, Hannah went on to the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester, where she obtained dual degrees in music performance, and brain and cognitive science (BCS). While at college she loved performing in the Eastman Percussion Ensemble. Hannah spent the 2019-2020 school year in Sweden studying improvisation, composition, and pedagogy through the Fulbright Student Program. During that year she also participated in the Global Leaders Program, an executive certificate program training a global cohort of musicians to utilize music for change in communities, which included a residence in Chile.

Hannah is happy to now be giving back to others through the gift of teaching. “I’ve always envisioned myself both teaching and performing since choosing music as my career path. I love sharing the things that excite me, and I relish the spark of satisfaction and exhilaration in students’ eyes after they achieve the next level. During my time in Chile with the Global Leaders Program, I recognized an excitement for facilitation. As an arts teacher and facilitator, I can help guide people to realize they are full of possibilities and potential. I desire to ignite creativity, build understanding through the bridge of an art form, and teach the recognition and valuing of beauty,” she said.

Head of Brown School, Patti Vitale, is excited to have Hannah as part of the Brown School team. “Hannah is not only an accomplished musician, but she is an accomplished person who has so much to offer our school. She is also dedicated to improving the community and that’s incredibly important to us.  She is extremely passionate about teaching and that rings loud through our halls,” she said.

So far, Hannah is enjoying her new role. “I love the creativity that teaching, even more so in the age of COVID, demands. Teaching preschool through high school requires a vast array of techniques, and it is like a game to discover the appropriate approaches and match those with the unique personalities and developmental stages of my students. Also, teaching general music involves constant variety, like the field of percussion. This is not a desk job, and I love that!”

When asked why music is so important to her, Hannah said “Personally, I feel an urge to create and a great joy and satisfaction in sharing this with others. Music is an expression of beauty, and I believe that beauty is essential for human flourishing because it nourishes our souls. The very presence of beauty in the world provides hope that there is goodness and a better future, even if the current reality looks bleak. So, music is important to me because it is a vehicle for sharing joy and hope, and also because it is a creative process which simultaneously declares shared humanity and the value of each individual voice. I also love the imagination that music invites. It summons us to new relationships with sound and the world around us.”

She feels as though Brown School is an excellent fit as she believes the team understands that arts and sciences are equally important in the development of a citizen and person.

Hannah still plays percussion, but focuses most of her time and energy on her new responsibilities as a teacher. She is hoping to perhaps give a performance at the Schenectady City Mission or even on the street because sharing beauty is a small way she can contribute to her community during this difficult time.

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