Mira Weber is the principal at Louis A. Agassiz Elementary School, a fine- and performing-arts magnet cluster in the Chicago Public School system and one of the Negaunee Music Institute’s school partners.

Describe an inspiring music education moment you have experienced.

I grew up in a household where music was present at all times. As a child, I was exposed to a variety of musical experiences. I was encouraged to not only listen to different types of music, but also took classes in and out of school to learn how to play piano and the flute. In addition, I attended multiple theatrical musical performances and loved the arts early on.

Tell us about an inspiring music/arts educator you had while you were in school. Why were they inspiring?

My father was actually the biggest inspiration for me. He encouraged me to listen to a variety of music but additionally stressed the cultural and social aspects of the art form. He was always excited about learning new things and [their] connection to our global society of historical context. This instilled in me a lifelong passion for exposing others to the arts, specifically, music and theatre.

Describe a moment when you saw music change a student’s life.

There are many I could speak of. As a principal in an arts school, it continues to amaze me when I see students who are otherwise quiet and reserved perform on stage in front of hundreds of students and parents. Their poise, confidence and ability to take ownership of the role or of their own craft strikes me every time I see it happen.

What do you hope your students will receive from their music education?

I hope that our students continue to learn the importance of being well-rounded individuals who can explore multiple aspects of learning and develop their own talents and interests. Through music education and exposure to the arts, I would hope our students see the connection between music, other content areas, culture and the world around them.

TOP: Agassiz Elementary School students perform in a poetry slam alongside Civic Orchestra musicians as part of the CSO-Connect’s culminating event in May. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017