YourClassical MPR's Project DJ

Guest co-host Kaleb Krzyszton shares his love for education

Kaleb Krzyszton is this week's Project DJ co-host.Provided

March 31, 2021

Kaleb Krzyszton joins Steve Staruch as the guest co-host of this week's Project DJ on Classical MPR.

A music education major at Luther College in Decorah, Krzyszton knew in third grade that he was destined to be a teacher. His main instrument is the euphonium, but he also is a baritone in the Nordic Choir at Luther and the director of the Luther College Gospel Choir. His goal as a teacher and a musician is to create meaningful community. He believes music making does that best.

Your interests in high school were music and agriculture. How did you choose?

While I had pretty much always known I wanted to be a teacher, I wasn't sure for a long time whether I wanted to pursue music education or agriculture education. I was incredibly involved in both venues throughout high school and either seemed like a real possibility. However, once I thought of this decision in terms of maintaining outlets for each of these passions, I began to realize that I would do best as a music teacher, giving horseback riding lessons — a sort of agriculture education — in the summers. One of the biggest supporters of this decision process was my agriculture teacher and FFA adviser, who strongly encouraged me to pursue my musical aptitude. In fact, she was instrumental in helping me get some lessons at colleges when we would go to FFA competitions, which really helped me along the path I'm on. I was really lucky to have that support, and I'm thankful for where it has led me.

How did you come to teach horseback riding?

Horseback riding lessons are a family tradition; most of my extended family is highly involved with horses, including my mother. I grew up watching her give riding lessons, and always wanted to help out. As I got older and more knowledgeable, I took on a more active role in these lessons. For several years now, I have been a full riding lesson instructor and couldn't love it more. Believe it or not, it's actually great experience for my music education career, too! Of course, the teaching component overlaps significantly between the two, but the concept I more explicitly connect between these passions is that of anatomy. Both playing instruments and riding horses require a nuanced understanding of how the body moves that is translated into intentional movement. When I took a "Body Mapping" course last year, which focused on helping musicians move in a healthier and more efficient manner, I found myself circling back to riding horses constantly. I really enjoy unexpected connections like that — even things as different as horses and musical instruments can inform each other!

What is the Luther Gospel Choir, and how did you become its director?

The Luther College Gospel Choir is a student organization in which we come together and enjoy creating music stemming from the gospel choir tradition. Members are involved for faith, fun, community, learning and/or any number of other reasons. I remember being so excited when I first saw a poster for the Luther College Gospel Choir in our music building my first year. I had really enjoyed gospel music for a long time, but never foresaw myself having the opportunity to create that music on a regular basis with others. I jumped at the chance to join in and by the end of the first rehearsal I was hooked. I talked to the student director at the time about helping out and by the time the year came to a close, I was transitioning into my role as the new student conductor. It has been an incredible experience that I deeply cherish. Though it has been over a year since our last rehearsal, I am hoping that it will be possible for us to start again in the fall. Let me tell you, Steve, I can't wait!

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