Abby Ziprick

What education have you taken?

I graduated from River East Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB. in 2013. I was a part of the music program and participated in everything from jazz orchestra to percussion ensemble to vocal jazz to contemporary music ensemble. My music teachers, Jeff Kula and Nicole Ens, really made my high school experience memorable by creating such a positive and musical atmosphere in the program. After high school, I moved to Brandon in 2013, to beginning my 5- year Bachelor of Music/ Education (After Degree), with a focus in middle and senior years’ instrumental music and drama. I have also had additional training in instrumental and vocal jazz, as well as elementary music education. This is my final year at BU, and has been an amazing ride. I feel blessed to have received opportunities to work and collaborate with such excellent peers and instructors.

What accomplishments (awards, scholarships, volunteer work, organizations, memberships, etc) are you proud of?

During Grade 12, I was awarded the 2013 President’s Jazz Festival Scholarship for a successful audition for BU during the Brandon Jazz Festival. Throughout my degree I have also been awarded the 2016 and 2017 Shirley Craig Scholarship in Music, 2016 Carl & Lyle Sanders Scholarship in Music, and 2017 Dorothy Kitchen Scholarship. During my degree, I have had opportunities to serve in leadership positions (President and Vice President) for outstanding associations like the Brandon University Music Students Council and the Brandon University Student Music Educators Association. These groups helped contribute to both the music school as well as the community, and I am so proud to have been a part of them. I have also collaborated with my colleagues on several writing projects and presentation opportunities. I have presented at both the 2016 Manitoba Education Research Network conference, and the 2018 BU Music Education conference, Da Capo. Myself and other music education peers are currently finishing revisions for an article about informal music education practices that will be published in a music education journal. Finally, one of my biggest accomplishments was being one of two Canadian conducting students selected to participate in the 2017 Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra Conducting Fellowship. Because I had a successful audition tape, I spent a week in Niagara Falls rehearsing and observing an honor band and working with conducting mentors Dr. Gillian MacKay and Dr. Mark Hopkins. It was truly an amazing experience, and it shaped me as a conductor, musician, and educator.

Tell us about yourself/ your background/ your history.       

I was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB., by two of the best and most hard-working people I know, my mom and dad. I grew up in a loving household that encouraged me to be the best version of myself. Being the eldest child, I quickly learned that I liked being a leader–which most likely just meant I liked having people to boss around! I always have considered myself to be an ambitious dreamer, but I also like to leave plenty of room to have fun with friends and family. I spend the majority of my time laughing. Comedy is one of my biggest and first loves, with Saturday Night Live and other sketch programs primarily shaping that love. Just like music; laughter is a universal language and I think more people should embrace it! Growing up, I found solace in creative activities like doodling, writing, drama, music lessons, and of course band class. I enjoyed being in any environment where it was okay to take risks and make mistakes, and laugh while doing so. Even now as an adult, I try to stay creative in any way possible–it makes life so much more interesting.

I find that kids have the best, most positive outlook about life, so I love spending time with them. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching at daycares, early learning centers, and student teaching placements. I’m very happy that I have chosen a career path where I will get to collaborate with kids daily!

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I come from a family of educators, so it was kind of my destiny even at a young age. I can remember setting up a mock classroom in my parent’s basement and forcing my family members to pretend they were my students. I was inspired at a young age by my mom, an outstanding teacher and administrator, as I saw how even the smallest actions or words of kindness can positively impact students.

When I began band classes in Grade 6, I knew immediately that I wanted to teach it. I loved working as an ensemble to create something together, and the sense of community and “home” I felt in the band room. As I grew up, I met many exceptional music educators along the way that have inspired and molded me in to the educator I am currently. Becoming a music teacher has been my biggest and most significant goal in life so far; it’s surreal that it’s finally happening!

What is your philosophy in life?

I feel like I come up with a new philosophy for myself every day, but these are my two tried and true mottos: shine brightly and exude confidence wherever you go. I found that tricking my brain and pretending to be confident and cheery constantly, really helped my overall confidence level and mood.

Secondly, immerse yourself in a positive community. Find other passionate people who encourage you to succeed, and can provide support if needed. Be the best version of yourself. Leslie Knope wasn’t really Leslie Knope without that stellar Parks Department to help her along the way.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the very near future I hope to adopt a chubby orange cat named Toby, and I’d like to be teaching either music or drama in Manitoba. Eventually I would love to get a master’s degree and further study either instrumental conducting, music assessment, or participatory and community music education approaches. I hope to encourage my future students to take creative risks and be lifelong learners in everything they do.