Impact on Teaching
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Music professor helps students find their own voices through travel
Ann Marie Snook, D.M.A. | Chicago, Illinois
Department of Music chair, professor
Ann Marie Snook’s voice has been her ticket to see the world. The classical singer’s talent has carried her across the country — from the Lyric Opera of Chicago to the Buffalo Philharmonic — and across the ocean to perform in Milan, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She and her husband, Lee Snook, chair of Washburn’s Vocal Division, have even had the privilege of singing with opera legend Luciano Pavarotti.
And now Snook is seeing to it that her students get to follow in her footsteps.
“The University is the perfect size to do some traveling with our students,” said Snook, who’s been at Washburn since 1990. “In April 2010, we took a group to the Kennedy Center and performed there (for a tribute to former Senator Bob Dole). We have been to South Africa with the choir. The orchestra traveled to Honduras and performed. Our jazz combo was invited by Dr. Farley to China while he was recruiting there.”
It’s all about getting students into the habit of not only practicing religiously, but traveling and performing regularly — and long before graduation. Snook says it’s an exercise that turns them from music students…into musicians.
“You can read about things and look at videos and listen to recordings. But until you’ve been on the stage with the major performers and talked to them one-on-one…it’s an indescribable event,” she said, citing the “incredible support system” of Washburn benefactors for making student trips possible.
Whether on campus or on another continent, Snook’s job is to help her students develop their own voice.
“You form this bond with a student when you’re working with them individually. It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to talk about beauty, the poetry of the songs, the background of the composers,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be able to do what I love and what is changing students’ lives in small ways.”
Based on Snook’s visits with Washburn alumni all over the world, the changes are far-reaching.
“Throughout my travels and every place I go, if there is a Washburn graduate there, I only get glowing reports about how wonderful it was to be a Washburn student.”