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Claire Schaecher
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Claire Schaecher

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Alleman High School

Hometown: Rock Island, Ill.

Major: Music education

Minor: Jazz studies

Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Jazz Ensemble, Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Augustana Percussion Ensemble, Augustana Jazz Combos, Augustana Chamber Orchestra, Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, Zeta Phi Kappa sorority

Internship: Student teaching at Hopewell Elementary and Pleasant Valley High School

Post-grad plans: Teaching general music and grades 6-8 band in Milwaukee, Wis.

Why Augustana?

When I was auditioning for music programs, I felt the most at home with the Augustana music department. The faculty members made me feel welcome, and I knew I would succeed at Augustana. While I wanted to go farther away than my hometown, I knew that Augustana was the best choice for me.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

When I first came, I had no idea where I wanted to be. My goals changed throughout my time at Augustana, and I'm happy with where my career is now taking me. When I came to campus, I just wanted to do music and meet new people. Now that I am graduating, I am so excited to be sharing my love of music with future generations in a classroom.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

The music faculty helped me get to where I am now. I learned so much from my directors, professors and academic advisor. The guidance I received from the start is one of the main reasons I am confident in my ability to teach music next year. My music education professors helped me expand my thinking and think about the importance of music for all people. 

Outside of Augustana, my parents have always been my biggest supporters. They have never missed a concert, and I appreciate all of the time and effort they have given for me to succeed.

Peak experience?

My best experience was the band tour my first year. While I was supposed to go on a band tour every year, all of them were canceled [due to COVID]. My first year, I really bonded with every person in the Augustana Symphonic Band, and I was excited about the music we got to share around the Midwest. 

I was also excited because it was the first time I was in a percussion section of only women. It was amazing to be able to be in a group of strong women, and I felt like I had an important place.

What surprised you?

What surprised me the most was my love of general music. I came into Augustana fully convinced that I was meant to be a band director. 

Through various classes and experiences, I found a love for general music and the impact that it can have on every student. My student-teaching placements helped solidify this idea, and I am grateful I had an open mind for this idea.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice as supplemental income during my student-teaching experience. It helped me to pay for necessities so I could focus on the students and the job.

What will you miss the most?

I am going to miss the people the most. I met so many amazing professors and friends, and I will miss the connections I was able to make. Every professor cares so much about their students, and the people at Augustana made my time very meaningful.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Don't limit yourselves. You are capable of so much more than you think, and you'll never know unless you try. You deserve the experience of leadership positions, research projects, internships and anything else that seems interesting. Always continue to grow and strive to be better.

“Claire is a curious, creative and engaged early-career music teacher. In her coursework and during her student-teaching placements, Claire wove meaningful learning experiences out of traditional and emergent approaches to music education. As a musician, she explored many different musical styles and instruments, expanding her versatility. In all that she does, she embodies what a liberal arts approach to learning and teaching can look like. I am happy to see Claire enter the field and glad to be able to call her a colleague."

– Dr. Jesse Rathgeber, assistant professor, music