As Ryan Payne went through school and thought about a future career, he considered values that were important to him.

“I have always been passionate about helping others, making a positive difference in lives, and making music,” said Payne. “As I grew up, I realized that teaching would be the perfect profession for me to live by values.”

Payne followed that thinking and now teaches music at Victor Falls Elementary School in Bonney Lake, near Seattle, Wash. He teaches the Modern Band curriculum and has noticed the positive impact in encouraging creativity and fostering a genuine love for music among his students.

Payne seeks input from his students on the music they like and incorporates their ideas from popular music genres into lessons. Students can experiment with instruments, including guitars, drums, keyboards, bass guitars, ukuleles, and digital instruments.

“Getting to know my students’ musical backgrounds is crucial to creating a positive and engaging learning environment,” said Payne. “I can adapt my teaching approach to support their growth and development by understanding their unique musical interests and talents.”

To further his knowledge and better serve his students, Payne completed LVC’s Modern Band Certificate last year. He discovered LVC through his involvement with Music Will, formerly known as Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit charity that encourages and enables children to play popular music. Payne had taken a Music Will workshop run by Dr. Warren Gramm, LVC’s Director of Music Education and Assistant Professor of Music, which led him to discover LVC’s program.

“I was pleasantly surprised that the online pedagogy and instructional courses, lessons, and concepts were beneficial and informative, with a strong focus on current teaching trends and trajectories,” he said. “LVC’s online courses offered flexibility and convenience, allowing me to study at my own pace and schedule, and asynchronous learning let me access course materials and complete assignments independently. It’s an excellent option if you have other commitments.”

When it came time to travel to Annville for the week-long residency, Payne learned just as much from his fellow students.

“It was great to collaborate and make music together, especially since we all have different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge. We have all learned a lot from one another, which was an enriching experience overall,” said Payne, who received the “Elevate Award” by Western Governors University for his dedication to his students.

Payne recommends Modern Band to any music teacher looking to enhance their teaching and connect with their students and families on a deeper level.

“I have always been inspired by the teachers who profoundly impacted my life, and I wanted to pay it forward by becoming a teacher myself. Seeing the growth and development of students is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.”