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New orchestra conductor promotes growth

Class implements activities to reach end-of-year goals

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New orchestra conductor promotes growth

New orchestra conductor Kou Lee conducts third hour class.

New orchestra conductor Kou Lee conducts third hour class.

Samiya Mohamed

New orchestra conductor Kou Lee conducts third hour class.

Samiya Mohamed

Samiya Mohamed

New orchestra conductor Kou Lee conducts third hour class.

Sofie Geretz, Ethan Meisler

According to orchestra conductor Kou Lee, his longtime dream has been to be a teacher.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, and I really love supporting people’s growth and helping people learn,” Lee said.

Lee said he initially volunteered at Park but later decided to work at Park permanently.

“The reason I wanted to be the orchestra director at St. Louis Park was because I volunteered there for about a year and a half before Mrs. Edgar left,” Lee said. “I love that place, I love all the support from the community, the parents, and the students are great, I love the students.

According to junior Lily Rostal, Lee has been a good addition to Park’s orchestra.

“Kou is the best. He’s very understanding and he really knows his stuff,” Rostal said.

Lee said he had to transition his teaching style from that of a volunteer to that of a teacher.

“It was kind of a weird transition because the students knew me as a volunteer, and they knew me as just cool,” Lee said. “But now I’m their teacher, so I had to change the way I talked, the way I think, just a little bit. Just to keep my role as a teacher, not a volunteer.”

Rostal said she thinks Lee has positively altered orchestra class in the time he’s been at Park.

“He’s definitely switched some things up, which I think is good,” Rostal said. “We didn’t really have to practice outside of school, but he came up with practice sheets and if we practice outside of school we can get study halls in class. It’s just fun.”

According to Lee, he wants to implement more academically based activities to class.

“I’m trying to do some more academic stuff in the orchestra. I want to do that because I really want to support students’ development of autonomy,” Lee said. “The students are really high achieving so they have a lot of autonomy, but it never hurts to work on that even more.”

Rostal said that in class, they have been practicing their music and preparing for upcoming events.

“We’ve just been sight reading a bunch of new music and getting ready for the concerts,” Rostal said.

Lee said he hopes his students build their confidence, relationships and skills throughout the year.

“I want students to be not only more confident with what they do in school, but also with developing their skills with their instrument,” Lee said. “I’ve been trying to focus on getting the students to develop relationships in the orchestra. I believe that if the orchestra functions as a whole, more than individuals, it will do better.”

Rostal said she recommends taking orchestra class.

“I would definitely suggest orchestra. Orchestra is really fun and you get to meet new people,” Rostal said.

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