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Bridging Cultural Learning: Music Major Interns in Brazil

Lebanon Valley College music student Rachel Schulz spent time playing and teaching music in Brazil

Rachel Schulz ’20 spent part of her summer showcasing her musical talents to students in Brazil.

The senior music education and music double major completed a four-week internship alongside Claudia Feitosa, a pianist and professor of music at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Baptist Seminary. 

“I led a chime ensemble from the children’s choir at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, mostly without a translator. I also taught five beginner violin workshops to Baptist seminary students,” Schulz said. 

In addition to her teaching, Schulz performed two organ recitals and played violin, piano, and organ at five churches, including the largest Baptist church in Rio. This combination forced Schulz to leave her comfort zone. 

“Having so much more experience being in front of people and teaching with a language barrier makes my assignments in conducting or music education classes seem less intimidating. It has added to my confidence and ability to articulate clearly and succinctly in front of others,” Schulz said. 

Schulz used music to teach others, but she also used it to integrate herself within the Brazilian culture. 

“During the weekends I went shopping, visited the beach, and traveled to tourist spots with people my age who became great friends. Even though they were all busy with college classes, they were so friendly and made time to hang out and explore with me. Watching the sun set at Ipanema and Copacabana beaches with locals who made me feel at home was something I will never forget,” she said.

To some, this internship may seem overwhelming, but this wasn’t Schulz’s first time in Brazil. She had traveled to Brazil with LVC professors Dr. Shelly Moorman-Stahlman and Dr. Sharon Davis and two other LVC students in summer 2017. They visited Porto Velho and Sao Paolo, teaching and performing music in area churches and schools.

Because of the instruction she received at LVC, Schulz felt prepared for this exciting journey. 

“As someone who enjoys pursuing many different areas of being a musician, LVC seemed like the right choice. It might not have been possible to perform in multiple choirs and orchestras, pursue a dual degree with two concentrations and a minor, and participate in recitals at other colleges. All my professors push me to be better in every area and have a visible, genuine desire to see me succeed,” Schulz said. 


- Huntre Keip, Marketing & Communications Student Intern