MPHS junior Ana Makowski considers career as music teacher
March 17, 2017
Life has a funny way of throwing significant moments at you just when you least expect it.
For Middle Park High School junior saxophonist Ana Makowski one of those moments happened when she got ready to start junior high band. Each year students who will enter beginner band in sixth-grade attend an instrument tryout. The event is an opportunity for the kids to test out the multiple instruments they can choose from to see where their natural talents lie.
Makowski had initially planned on playing a different instrument in band. "I was going to play the clarinet," she said. "I told everybody that is what I was going to do." Yet today Makowski is one of the leading saxophone players at Middle Park. When I asked her why she decided to play saxophone instead of clarinet, she smiled wryly.
"It was the only instrument I could play," she said laughing. "When I got up to try I couldn't play any of the instruments on my list like flute, clarinet or trumpet. The guy said, 'try the sax'. It just went on from there." Now, after over half a decade, Makowski can play all four different types of saxophone. She also helps teach the basics of her beloved woodwind to local junior high students.
Makowski has been active in band and music classes in East Grand for about seven years now but the young lady acknowledged it has really been in the past four-years or so that music changed from being one of many aspects of her life to one of the key elements that define her world.
She says she is drawn to music because of her ability to express herself through instrumental sound. "It is just something that I have grown so fond of," she said. "It is something that I found I can really express myself through that I can't necessarily do in other ways." She added she derives a deep sense of pride from being able to play an instrument, which is not something most other people can do.
Most weeks Makowski attends several junior high band class sessions at East Grand Middle School where she works closely with the younger saxophonists. "I normally go in during the end of Mr. Pregeant's seventh and eighth grade band," she said. "I usually play with the saxophones so they can have a little guiding sound to listen off of."
Makowski explained she often works with the younger students on musical basics like notes and rhythm. Other times she will offer instruction on the mechanical fundamentals of proper performance such as finger placement on the instrument. "I give the kids lots of little tips and tricks," she said. "I show them the right way to put their reed on. How to adjust their neck strap, how much mouthpiece they should use. Really just simple stuff I have learned from Mr. Pregeant."
She says she thoroughly enjoys working with the junior high students and relishes the opportunity to pass her knowledge on to the younger crowd. "From my standpoint I think, 'I was there years ago, but now I'm here'. Getting to see that growth is great."
Makowski is still kicking around different ideas of what she wants to do with her life after she graduates but near the top of the list is becoming a music teacher. "I didn't realize I might want to become a music teacher until recently," she said. "I heard about Matthew's [Hardman] internship and I thought what if I put something similar in my schedule."
Makowski said her initial desire for the internship was based on her desire to spend more time focusing on music. "From there it just opened me up to more ideas. I started out taking it to take more music classes. During the internship I decided that maybe this is what I want to do."
She added that a profession as a music instructor is currently at the top of her list for future careers.