Flute Player Katie Forshay Teaches Flourishing Members of Grisham Middle School Band

Senior Katie Forshay teaches beginning flute students in Grisham Band during the school day. As she prepares to major in music education, the experience teaches both her and the students valuable lessons. (Daphne Longenbach)

Setting her foot in the door of music education, Katie Forshay ‘23 teaches young musicians in Grisham Middle School Band during the school day. After starting her career at Grisham, Forshay grew a passion for music and hopes to pass it on to young flute players like herself. 

“I would teach the 6th graders who had just entered the band program how to play the flute and as they grew more comfortable with their instrument, they moved up to the symphonic band,” Forshay said.  

Throughout her time at Grisham, Forshay expressed to the former band director that she was interested in helping out more on the teaching side of music. Once her schedule had enough room in her senior year, Forshay communicated with the Westwood Warrior Band directors, former Grisham Band director Ms. Liz Love, and current Grisham Band director Mr. Mason England to coordinate her teaching opportunity. 

“I wouldn’t be able to do it if it weren’t for the high school directors, especially Mr. Turpin, because he kind of coordinates everything for me, which he doesn’t need to do, but he does it anyways.” Forshay said.

Due to the unique situation, there is no course for Forshay’s work, so instead her schedule shows an Office Aide block. Forshay arrives around 8:30 a.m. for the first period of Grisham’s classes, and stays through homeroom, leaving around 10:30 a.m.. During this time, she assists wherever the directors need her, from helping specific students, or just playing with the flute section. 

“It’s so cool to see the progress that someone can make in such a small amount of time,” Forshay said. “Also just seeing the kids mature, become more confident in themselves, both as musicians and human beings.”

Not just helping the students grow, Forshay has learned various teaching skills and techniques from this experience. She notes that the students have made her hopeful and excited for the future.

“Overall I can’t even imagine my college experience if I hadn’t had this opportunity, because it’s made me so much more confident in myself and my teaching abilities, and my abilities simply just to express myself through music and express myself through teaching music,” Forshay said.

Affirming her choices towards her own future and career, assisting at Grisham reassured Forshay that her decision to pursue music education in college was the correct path. 

“The experience in and of itself and the opportunity that I’ve been given, it’s beyond words of how grateful I am to be able to participate in it,” Forshay said.

Preparing for graduation and leaving both Westwood and Grisham, Forshay hopes to leave a lasting impact on the students she aided.

“They need to make sure that they never get lost in the fact that it is a privilege to make the music rather than a chore; they get to play their instrument, not practice it,” Forshay said. “I pray and hope that they don’t ever lose that, even though I won’t be able to have the same influence once I leave.”