MyPath trio explores a career in music education through mentorship

MyPath trio explores a career in music education through mentorship
Posted on 03/01/2024
Herbig works with a studentMehlville High School seniors Sam Herbig, Tyler Langford and Luke Mitchell have shared a love of music since middle school. They’re now exploring how to turn that passion into a career in music education by using the MyPath program to mentor middle school students.

The MyPath program allows students at MHS and Oakville High School to continue to pursue their interests after exhausting high school course offerings. Students develop their own curriculum, find mentors and monitor their progress throughout the year. Students can work individually or in small groups.

Herbig, Langford and Mitchell all plan to become music teachers, so they used MyPath as an opportunity to gain experience working with students. During the first semester, they visited band students at Buerkle Middle School and Washington Middle School to work on rhythm recognition. They helped middle schoolers learn how to count and clap rhythms before playing them on their instruments.

“It’s made me think about how I could differentiate my rhythms and put more accents on notes when I’m playing music,” said Gideon Krieg, an eighth-grader at Buerkle Middle School.

The mentorship has been mutually beneficial. Middle school students are improving their playing, while the MyPath trio is learning what skills they’ll need to be successful band teachers.

“It can be really hard to teach because … and sometimes the way you learned it isn’t the way they’re going to learn it,” said Herbig. “Practicing teaching and getting a taste of what it’s like to teach middle school gives us a great reference of what it’s like to be a teacher.”

Langford MyPath presentation
Image: Langford shares the group's progress during the first semester with peers and Mehlville High School staff.

At the end of the first semester, they presented their progress in music education to MHS and district staff. 

In the second semester, the three are shifting their focus to working on pieces individually and in small groups to prepare the middle school students for state solo and ensemble competition this spring. The work they’re doing could have a lasting impact on the Mehlville High School band.

Mitchell working with students
Image: Mitchell provides pointers to the Buerkle Middle School saxophone section.

“They’re inspiring the future of the band program,” said James Hahn, Buerkle Middle School band director. “I think that is even more impactful than learning the notes and rhythms.” 

They also plan to use the second semester to finalize plans for college by preparing for auditions and applying for scholarships. All three have enjoyed their MyPath experience and plan to pursue a degree in music education. They believe the choice to complete their MyPath together has made a difference.

Herbig working with students
Image: Herbig helps a Buerkle Middle School student count and clap rhythms.

“Working together has kept us accountable, given us more resources and the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other that we wouldn’t have had if we had done this alone,” said Herbig.

Your student should speak to their counselor if they’re interested in the MyPath program. Visit the Student Choice section of our website to learn more about MyPath and other choice programs like South Tech, STL CAPS and the Early College Academy.
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