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SMC hosts lecture on music career options

Rachel Rahal | Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Monday, Saint Mary’s Department of Music hosted a lecture offering insight on “Life after a Music Degree: Two Models of ‘Portfolio Careers.'”

 Kathleen Keasey and Sherry Klinedinst, part-time instructors in the department, discussed their discernment paths in the music industry and their development as artists. Keasey said she knew from an early age that music was something she was going to pursue. Her music career began when she enrolled in Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., but she soon transferred to Oberlin College to continue her studies.

“I was a small fish in a big pond, attending Oberlin College while obtaining my degree in music performance,” Keasey said. “During the [1960s], women were supposed to work as teachers, nurses and secretaries.”

Like Keasey, Sherry Klinedinst said she found her calling for music at a young age. She said she began playing the piano at age three, encouraged by her mother who also played. At 15, she began taking lessons at Saint Mary’s College and then attended Indiana University, earning a degree in piano performance.

“Lessons with Dr. Jacob [at Saint Mary’s] were a hoot,” Klinedinst said. “This was such a fun process with a very encouraging man. He was very detail oriented just like my mother.”

Both women said life after college had its ups and downs as they bounced between several jobs. Keasey said she went back to school to earn her degree in education and then worked as a music instructor at high schools in the South Bend area.

 Klinedinst said the  different jobs she held out of college allowed her to develop new skills, but she found that her initial hope of being a concert performer was not what she wanted.

Today, Keasey said she runs her own studio at home, where she has two pianos and teaches over 20 students. She also plays each Sunday as an organist in her church’s choir.

“I never advertised for my students, my lessons were only found out by word of mouth,” Keasey said. “It really is the joy of my life. I love teaching.”

Klinedinst said she followed up on her dream to create her own music, producing four albums sold nationwide. She also teaches students of her own as well.

“If I didn’t have two of the best teachers, I wouldn’t be teaching students of my own,” Klinedinst said. “I am very fortunate for my well-rounded career where I am never doing the same thing twice.”

Both instructors said they were grateful for their experiences in the field of music an  encouraged students to pursue their musical talents after college.

“Being a musician is something that lasts all your life and has provided me with a livelihood that I am grateful for,” Keasey said .

Contact Rachel Rahal at rrahal@saintmarys.edu