In only one week’s time, PCC alumna Melissa Lingle (Music Ed. ’91) accomplishes more than many might hope to accomplish in a month.
As a music teacher at a school and the musical theater director for the Creative and Performing Arts Academy (CaPAA), Lingle regularly teaches 42 general music classes for over 800 students, works with private music lessons and musical theater, and is responsible for three choirs.
“Between all the grade level concerts and choir appearances, I manage at least nine concerts per school year, coordinating all the necessary components between each of the buildings, teachers, and principals to make them work,” Lingle said.
Lingle works with even the youngest of students through a class called Music for Little Mozarts in which she trains students in simple rhythm reading and pitch matching and helps them learn to clap on the beat. During the next few years, students build on those foundational skills to learn basic notation and more complex rhythm reading and pitch matching.
By the time students reach sixth grade, Lingle will have worked with them on how to sight sing and play the recorder. Students will also have composed their first original songs and learned about guitars and the influence of other cultures on music.
At CaPAA, Lingle said she teaches “basic theater vocabulary, acting skills, and proper vocal technique and do[es] it all while having tons of fun through theater games and storytelling.”
“I love seeing the kids fall in love with music and light up when they realize they can sing and compose and express themselves through song,” Lingle said. “Watching them achieve success through performing and being proud of something they’ve done with excellence because of their hard work is very satisfying to me.”
Lingle looks back on her education from PCC as a time when she gained valuable instruction about and experience in the classroom. “The methods courses and in-classroom teaching opportunities prepared me to be an excellent music educator, no matter the setting.”
Lingle added, “Being a part of the operas and musicals at PCC gave me great insight into how to make a job with a theater company work.” Some of the performances Lingle helped with while at PCC include The Mikado, The Elixir of Love, and The Barber of Seville.
Now Lingle is the one selecting musicals, designing costumes, preparing music, running lines, and blocking scenes for the youngest division shows at CaPAA.
Lingle recognizes that her faith has been an influential factor in how she approaches music and theater. Whether through pointing out the influence the church and Christianity have had on the development of music and the arts or through talking about her faith and praying with parents when God has opened the doors, Lingle is ready to share about her faith.
“The parents notice that I encourage a collaborative rather than a competitive atmosphere for their children and that we lift others up and praise one another for accomplishments rather than put one another down to make ourselves look better,” Lingle explained.
Though she works long days and sometimes long nights, Lingle loves that she is fulfilling a desire she has had since she was only twelve—to be a music teacher. “I love watching the children gain confidence and poise,” she said. “But, really, my favorite part is when a child runs up to me and gives me a hug…just because.”