“It wasn’t until coming to PCC that I desired to teach music in a Christian school,” said music education major Justin Wilson (Jr., GA). “My instructors opened my eyes to the need for Christian school music teachers, and the Lord burdened my heart. Every class I have taken has added to the depth and breadth of my knowledge of music. I feel that each day I learn something new—God is using it to prepare me for my career.”
Since high school, Justin knew he wanted to study music, but he had always thought it would be at a public college. That was, until he met Nick Kozar, PCC’s band director, during College Days. “It was really Mr. Kozar’s friendliness and encouragement that led me to come to PCC,” said Justin.
Justin is one of the many students who chose PCC’s music program because of a personal experience with the faculty. “The atmosphere in PCC’s music department is one of mentorship, support, and love,” said music faculty Dr. David Hill (’04), something unusual in such a competitive field.
One of the reasons Dr. Hill came to PCC was to study under Mrs. Daisy de Luca Jaffé. “When I heard of Mrs. Jaffé—an artist in residence for the music department and a piano performer and pedagogue of distinction—I knew that I wanted to study at PCC,” he said.
In 1994, Dr. and Mrs. Alberto Jaffé were invited to become PCC’s artists in residence and establish a strings program using the Jaffé Strings Method well known in Brazil. Early in their ministry at PCC, the Jaffés each accepted Christ as their Savior and dedicated their lives to training young people to make music for the Lord. After her husband’s passing in 2012, Mrs. Jaffé continues to teach private piano lessons. With a little chuckle, she leaned back in her chair and smiled. “Oh! I enjoy teaching!” she said. “I think this is my life.”
After graduating with master’s degrees from PCC, Dr. David and Leah Hill spent time performing with world-class musicians in Freiburg, Germany, before returning to their alma mater to teach. Now, Dr. Hill has his own opportunities to be blessed by his students. He recalled how one student told her peers, “I’ve learned to stop worrying about where everyone else is—just to be in competition with myself. Am I being the best I can be?” This made a huge impression on Dr. Hill because her comments reflect the perspective he seeks to instill in his students.
His wife, voice instructor Leah Hill, has had similar experiences with her own students. “I observe my students become thrilled over these moments of growth,” she said, “and the evidence is immediate—a freer tone, a more beautiful sound, a more meaningful interpretation. That’s pure joy!”
One of her voice students, James Strasburg (Sr., IN), feels the knowledge he has gained during his last three years of private lessons is unparalleled. “She has a way of learning her students’ struggles and adapting to what techniques are needed for each student individually,” he said. “The music program and teachers at PCC have greatly helped me in finding my way to be the best musician that I am capable of being.”
Whether students are studying music, music education, or music ministries, they take classes that broaden their knowledge-base, building both their classical and sacred music understanding. Private lessons, taken by all music majors, cultivate a love of music creation as students are encouraged in the development and refinement of their skills. Senior internships for music education students give them the opportunity to teach lessons or band for a full semester, while music ministry students serve in a local church ministry.
Learning through practical classroom instruction, growing in private lessons, and having access to practice rooms take students from instruction to application in the emphasis of their choice—piano, voice, instrumental, or conducting. Each student’s education includes opportunities to perform in concerts by various music groups on campus including chamber groups, choral groups, handbells, band, and orchestra. Music and music education students give a solo recital as the capstone of their program.
Today, the desire to be a blessing through music is shared by PCC students, graduates, and teachers alike. The practice rooms in the Visual and Performing Arts building reverberate with the vitality and creativity of aspiring musicians.