Student Spotlight: Kaylee Schneider

Not many people can juggle playing second flute in both the Wind Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra, participating in the Flute Choir, being a member of NAFME National Association for Music Education (NAFME) and a member Music Education Club here on campus all while taking twenty units, but second year Music Education major Kaylee Schneider handles it all. 

“She doesn’t only share an immense passion for music, as I do, but she is one of the most talented musicians I know,” fellow Music major Maddie Kaminsky said. “She always has thoughts on how we do as a group, which is how I know she’s really passionate about the music we are performing and wants everyone to do well in the performance as a whole.”

Ever since Schneider could even remember, she has loved playing music.  Starting with toy instruments she played with as a young child, she now primarily plays the flute and piccolo. 

Flute player and Music Education major Kaylee Schneider. STAR // Emily Kowalski

Flute player and Music Education major Kaylee Schneider. STAR // Emily Kowalski

“It’s a way to express myself,” Schneider said. “I can just honestly lose myself in my music so quickly.”

Along with practicing and performing music, Schneider also partakes in multiple other artistic pastimes.

“One of my favourite thing to do is paint. I love working with acrylic paint.” Schneider said. “When music gets too stressful I use visual art as a creative outlet. I also love being in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking and creating new recipes and finding new ones too.” 

Originally wanting to major in Studio Art, Schneider realized that she wanted to become a music teacher. Along with being inspired by her past music teachers, she also understood the importance of representation in academic settings.

“Growing up, I never had any African American teachers, or teacher of color,” Schneider said. “Because of this, I felt like sometimes I couldn’t really connect with my teachers. As a teacher, I really want to help people learn, obviously, but also connect with others and form confidence in students.”

Schneider decided Sonoma State University was the school for her when Sonoma State Director of Bands Andy Collinsworth guest conducted for a day and talked a little about the program in her high school band class senior year. She stayed and talked to Collinsworth for awhile after class, after seeing the campus and doing some research, she knew Sonoma State was the place she wanted to study music. 

At Sonoma State, Schneider finally got the connection she was searching for in Opera/Musical Theatre Director Lynne Morrow.

“She really inspired me, and I automatically felt a connection with someone else who was African American,” Schneider said. “Noticing I never had that makes me want to be that person for someone else.”

“She spend most of her summer preparing her audition excerpts for this years Wind Ensemble and Orchestra audition, even going as far as making the one hour commute to Sonoma State from time to time in order to receive private instructions for her parts,” Schneider’s boyfriend and fellow flute player Adán Ortega Gonzales said. “I don’t think most students would go to those lengths to prepare for that. I believe she’ll be a great model for students one day in terms of dedication.”

Taking on fourteen classes, performances and a personal life can take a toll on anyone, especially those as hardworking as Schneider, but she persists and heads straight towards her goals.

“When she wants something, she’ll undoubtedly work hard for it, and that’s someone I would want to have at my disposal in the music industry,” Ortega Gonzales said.

For those who don’t want to miss out on her next performances, Schneider will perform in the Symphony Orchestra season finale April 27 and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s last concert May 10.