For KIPP Unity music teacher Tyler Beck, staying active is a way of life.
Besides his role with KIPP, Tyler serves as musical director of Chapelwood United Methodist Church, and also is a private voice and piano instructor. “I don’t shy away,” Tyler said. “I try to be as well-rounded as I can.”
Tyler joined KIPP Unity when the school opened in August 2015 because of an opportunity School Leader Kaleena Rosenbauer presented him. “When Ms. Rosenbauer decided to open the school, she could have picked anything to be part of the enrichment team,” Tyler said. “She could have done a computer class or physical education, but she chose music because she understood the connections that music can make, the kinesthetic learning that can happen.”
Tyler admits that he wasn’t always sure he wanted to be a music teacher. Until his senior year of high school, he went back and forth between becoming a teacher or football coach. When back injuries derailed his football career, he elected to teach. “It’s worked out,” he said.
Thriving off the daily challenge of getting students excited about music, Tyler always brings high energy to each teaching session. “The thing that gets them excited is to see me excited,” Tyler said. “If they don’t see me being passionate about it, they’re not going to be passionate about it. I purposely make sure every kid has a chance to lead or participate throughout the day.”
Each day in his class, something new is taught and absorbed. From writing melodies, to music form, to verse, to chorus, and bridge, students are obtaining a range of valuable music skills at an early age. “They’re able to pick it up right away,” Tyler said. “It’s really cool to know my students are probably going to be better off in fourth grade than I was as a senior in high school.”
Like most of his teaching colleagues, one of Tyler’s favorite things about working at KIPP has been seeing his students excel. Last year, KIPP Unity produced the highest MAP test scores in the region and was the only school that offered music four times a week. Tyler believes music helps make connections to math and reading.
While music likely won’t be a career profession for many of his students, Tyler’s goal is to introduce them to the subject. “I want them to be able to appreciate and talk intelligently about music, even if they’re just hearing something on the radio,” Tyler said. “A lot of people if they want to add fun to something, they add music. I want them to have that appreciation and feel that connection.”