Brian Rodriguez ‘16
Secondary School Music Teacher
Music Major (guitar performance and composition)
“Music isn’t just about producing sound or entertainment, but rather how music inspires, evokes, and motivates people to better themselves and the people around them. I always knew that pursuing a career in music would allow me to foster my passion of being a lifelong learner, and I was right.”
What have you been doing since graduating from LMU?
Since graduating from LMU, I decided to continue my classical guitar studies by pursuing a master’s degree in classical guitar performance at USC. Upon completing my master’s degree, I decided to set my sights on teaching music full time rather than performing, as I have always loved teaching. This led me to pursue a second master’s degree/credential program in K-12 contemporary teaching practice, also at USC. After graduating with my second master’s degree, I began applying for music teaching jobs until I ended up landing a job teaching music full time at a private Catholic High School. I have spent the past year working there and I can honestly say it has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.
What is your day-to-day like?
Day-to-day, I teach a variety of music classes from handbells, choir, orchestra, and musical theater. Ironically, no guitar, but I recently created, proposed, and got approval for two new University of California-approved music courses for next year that will include music technology and guitar songwriting. I absolutely love my job, so much so that I almost feel guilty for getting paid to do the work I do. It hardly feels like work at all. Having the opportunity to teach such a variety of music subjects has really challenged me to expand and grow beyond my own capabilities as both an educator and musician.
How did your undergraduate studies prepare you for this next step?
I sing nothing but the highest of praises about my undergraduate education. I truly valued the close relationships I was able to foster with my professors and the other students in the music department - it is truly a special place. Additionally, I have come to appreciate LMU’s dedication to the education of the whole person as something indispensable that has shaped me into the person I am today. Having had the opportunity to take classes outside of just the standard music courses has really served me well as both a professional, and as someone who continues to be very passionate and involved with social justice.
How did you decide to major in music?
I decided to major in music because I came to realize fairly quickly how vast and far-reaching of an influence music has on our day-to-day lives. My concentration was in classical guitar performance and I later added on a concentration in composition after being exposed to composition through my music theory courses, as well as that fact that I had taken an interest in film composition. It is not just about producing sound or entertainment, but rather how music inspires, evokes, and motivates people to better themselves and the people around them. I always knew that pursuing a career in music would allow me to foster my passion of being a lifelong learner, and I was right.
What was your favorite thing about LMU Music?
Without a doubt the people. Both students and professors alike, each and every one of them holds a special place in my heart. It truly was nothing short of a home away from home. It is hard to pick a singular favorite memory as I have so many. Though my favorite category of memories had to be hanging out in the atrium of the music building during late night practice sessions with my other musician friends.
Any advice for current and future music students?
Cherish the people and conversations, soak up the time spent on the bluff, explore Los Angeles, and take advantage of every opportunity the music department has to offer. These are memories I guarantee you will never forget.