We recently interviewed Rebekah Weaver about her experience at Ball State and how it shaped her career. Rebekah graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Instrumental Music Education and in 2006 with a M.M. in Percussion Performance.
Where are you originally from and what major were you when you attended Ball State?
I was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, but spent most of my life in the small, rural town of Urbana, Indiana (just north of Wabash). Interestingly, I started my time at Ball State as a theory and composition major – I switched my major to music education during my second semester.
What opportunities attracted you to Ball State?
I visited the Ball State music department on a field trip with my high school band and had the opportunity to sit in on a Wind Ensemble rehearsal as well as participate in a group lesson with a Ball State undergraduate percussionist. I was fascinated by the level of performance I heard, and I really liked the energy and vibe of the percussion studio. I also knew of Dr. Erwin Mueller’s reputation in the percussion world, and I just felt like the school would be a good fit for me.
What are your fondest memories at Ball State? Are there any teachers at Ball State who influenced your career path?
Some of my fondest memories are of spending time with my sisters in Sigma Alpha Iota, having big group dinners with the percussion section, playing in the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, going on a Wind Ensemble tour, and meeting so many interesting and inspiring people (many of them are still a big part of my life today).
Several wonderful, caring teachers at Ball State influenced my career path – I truly had an exceptional education at Ball State and can confidently say I would be nowhere near the person I am today without the encouragement and support of my mentors. One of the greatest joys in my life is being able to keep in touch with many of my former Ball State teachers and to work alongside them in the field of music education. They are still a huge influence on me today!
I can look back at my time as an unsure and timid undergraduate and picture nearly every single one of my professors helping me and pushing me along the way, but two in particular really stuck out to me. David Foley, my music theory professor and advisor, encouraged me to pursue the performance side of my career goals and I firmly believe I wouldn’t have made it out of music theory alive without his guidance and patience! Even after I graduated and moved on from Ball State, Mr. Foley would take the time to catch up with me whenever I’d run into him out and about in Muncie. He was genuinely invested in me and my success.
Erwin Mueller, my percussion professor, and his wife Barbara, were and continue to be two of my biggest supporters and helped me to become not only a better musician, but also a confident and self-reliant person. They have always encouraged me to follow my dreams, and always know how to give me strength and lift me up when I need it most.
What are you currently doing?
I am currently in my first year of study working toward a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After graduating from Ball State with my master’s degree, I spent twelve years teaching middle school and high school band, choir, and general music in Muncie. It has always been a goal of mine to teach at the college level, and I’m excited to be able to go back to school and concentrate my studies on being a teacher educator. While at Michigan I am working as a Graduate Student Instructor, assisting with and teaching a variety of music education courses.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Aside from musical endeavors, in my free time I like to knit, cook and bake, and travel. I also like to watch indie films, foreign films, and documentaries, and read.
What advice would you like to share with future Ball State graduates?
Being a graduate of Ball State connects you to an amazing network of people, and the relationships you build while in school will carry you through the rest of your life. The transition from student to graduate can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming, but no matter what the next leg of your journey is, know that you will have the support of your mentors and friends at Ball State. Move forward with confidence and pride! Always remember to take time for yourself and to enjoy all that life has to offer. You’re never too old to pursue your passions, so go out there and make the leap!