The Art Institute of Houston
If you're not moving forward and learning every day, you may not survive in the business. Joanna Gaines , Instructor , The Art Institute of Houston
M.Mus., Music, University of Texas at Austin
B.Mus., Music, University of Texas at Austin
Professional musician for more than thirty years, working in US and Europe, member of multiple music unions and professional organizations. Has performed with more than 100 companies and in multiple productions ranging from concert to opera to Broadway.
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
A major symphony orchestra conductor saw my performance in a college concert...and hired me.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I share examples of real-world situations I’ve experienced over several decades working at a high level in the profession. A make it a point to offer the kind of advice I wasn’t given before I started my career. And I try to bring their expectations in line with what actually happens in the industry.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I make every assignment a practical application of the theory they’re learning—as well as an exercise in problem solving.
In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
I push them every week to do more than they think they can, and make sure they get the help they need to succeed in doing something new.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
I emphasize that various disciplines are always working together in the industry—audio isn’t an isolated field. I encourage students to explore and expand their knowledge in fields beyond audio.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
Respect yourself and your profession. Employers look for craftsmanship, dependability, the ability to communicate, and people who are easy to work with.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
No one has ever succeeded in the music profession on talent alone. There’s a difference between music as a hobby and music as a profession. If you’re not moving forward and learning every day, you may not survive in the business.