Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Daniel Jacobson

Second Advisor

Kimberly Dunn-Adams

Third Advisor

Christina Gorter


I have been working as the 5th-8th Grade music teacher at the Gagie School in Kalamazoo, MI for the entire 2012-2013 year. This mucis program represents not only the culminating project of my work at Gagie, but also a representation of all the skills I have acquired in my years at WMU in the hopes of using them in a variety of possible future careers.

I got the idea for this program from my students. In wanting to make sure they had a say in what music we performed I asked them what their favorite songs were. The overwhelming answers were popular songs on the radio, but everyone almost unanimously agreed on "Some Nights" and "We Are Young" by Fun. "We Are Young" is categorized in the pop and rock category and I began to wonder what other bands today would fall in to the rock genre instead of pop. The students then talked about their favorite musicals they would like to do and, although Les Miserables was the clear favorite, many mentioned Rock of Ages. as it turns out, it has a lot of inappropriate subject matter for a middle school concert, but the idea of Rock music still stuck with me. Rock and Roll is a genre that any living person can relate to. My middle school students have parents and gradnparents who grew up listening to this music, and yet they all still belt out the chorus to "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and "Livin' On a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. Many of these songs are timeless and keep getting rediscovered by the next generation of music lovers.

After I picked out all of the music I wanted to include in the program, I knew I had to come up with a theme. My mom helped me brainstorm and eventually we settled with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being relocated to Kalamazoo. All of the Rock and Roll legends could come back and perform. I could use Kalamazoo-specific references that only people from this area would appreciate. Most of all, it opened up my options for soloists. At the Gagie School, every 8th grader is featured in the Spring program. With 23 8th graders in the class, I had to make sure there were plenty of solo opportunities.

This program also has given me many opportunities to practice choral arranging. I have become very interested in arranging music and have written and adapted a lot of music for my students at Gagie this year based on the voices I have in the choirs and the needs of my students. A lot of the music on the program will have either been arranged or edited by me, simply because I wanted it to be the best fit and most accessible for the students.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Zegree.mp4 (129933 kB)