EU Alumni Perspective: Greg Foreman
Name: Greg Foreman, M.A.
Graduation Year: 1981
Major: Bachelor of Music Education
Author, Alfred Music Publishing Company
Faculty, Edmund J. Gleazer School of Education at Graceland University
City and State: Independence, MO
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I’m an educational writer for Alfred Music Publishing Company and I have just collaborated on my thirteenth publication, “Musictivities” (K-8). This book is volume one of a series of national standards-based, distance-learning resources with additional volumes soon to be released.
In addition to writing, I also serve as faculty at the Independence campus of Graceland University, where I enjoy teaching outstanding junior and senior pre-service teachers. Graceland is a private university, similar to Evangel, with the goal of creating lifelong learners through small class sizes and high quality, individualized instruction. Attending Evangel prepared me to mentor my students with the same empathy and passion I received from the outstanding Evangel faculty.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
I LOVED studying piano with Duffy Hawkins, professor at EU. Being a Springfield native, I started studying privately with Mr. Hawkins during my freshman year at Kickapoo High School. He patiently groomed my technique, musicality, and performance skills; even offering to provide additional guided practice sessions during his breaks between lessons. Mr. Hawkins expertly selected my repertoire, refined my musicality, and pushed me to perform at higher and higher levels. As a graduate student, I attended the UMKC Conservatory and was selected to perform as piano soloist on a National Public Radio broadcast. Also, as the winner of the Kansas City Symphony Honors and Concerto/Aria competitions, I performed Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with both the Kansas City Symphony and the Conservatory Orchestras. My level of playing ability was due to excellent training by Mr. Hawkins, while at Evangel, along with long hours of dedicated rehearsal!
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Not only did the faculty encourage and foster my love for music teaching and the piano, I had the good fortune to study several semesters of applied organ with our own beloved Dr. June Kean. Studying organ with a world renowned organist and graduate of the Eastman School of Music was a rich experience, which helped shape me musically and professionally. Her tutelage opened doors for my music ministry, as well as organ performances at such events as Washburn University’s Kansas Silent Film Festivals, Kansas City Theatre Pipe Organ concerts, and the 50th anniversary celebration concert of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City, performance of Symphony No. 3 (The “Organ Symphony”) in C minor, Op. 78, by Camille Saint-Saëns.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
The Evangel faculty provided rigorous coursework and training for distinction in music education. As a result, during my 32 year public school teaching career, I received the Lee’s Summit, Missouri School District’s “Excellence in Teaching,” the “Hertzog Leadership,” and the “Learning for Life” awards. I served as lead music teacher, designated building “Mentor Teacher,” student teacher supervisor, and as a member of the music curriculum writing and district staff development teams. Also, I was honored to serve as a clinician and guest author at several State Music Teacher and Technology Conventions. My pre-service teaching passion was ignited by great EU faculty legends such as Edna Baker, Calvin Johansson, Joseph Nicholson, John Shows, and many others!
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
A few years ago, I was serving as a keyboardist at a church, where the choir director was a voice major at a local university. He had potential, but was struggling. Confidentially, I asked the young man to reflect in brief emails stating how he thought each choir rehearsal had gone and what he might have done differently. I took a few minutes to respond and I would encourage what he did well and offered advice on how he might approach a situation differently in the future. After he graduated, he began teaching and was selected to be “Outstanding Young Choir Director” for the entire state of Kansas! He now has a doctorate and teaches choral studies at the university level. His self-reflection, combined with his natural talent, made him a superstar! I had very little to do with it, but tried to help reinforce what he was doing right and extinguish some of his bad habits, before they became too entrenched in his professional practices. My best advice: find a trusted mentor and SELF-REFLECT!
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
As I help prepare pre-service teaching candidates, I support them in learning how to effectively plan and implement engaging lessons. I also try to impress upon them a great teacher is highly organized, works well in a team, and maintains high expectations for themselves and their students. Most of all, a master teacher needs to be tremendously caring and kind! The only time a teacher needs to yell at students is when the teacher is really happy!
I encourage all Evangel students to demonstrate a strong work ethic, develop a deep understanding of their disciplines, and learn how to communicate effectively in written and spoken situations. I’m grateful the faculty of Evangel University helped develop those qualities in me!