Music education major guided by Wooster experience

Claire Bellamy '11

As a senior in high school, Claire Bellamy ’11 knew that she wanted to major in music education. While looking for a small liberal arts college, she encountered The College of Wooster. From the moment she stepped onto campus, Bellamy knew that Wooster was the school for her. She said that when touring the College “It felt like home.” The beauty of the grounds and noticeable comradery between the students made her choice to attend Wooster easy. Bellamy’s first impression proved to be accurate, as she enjoyed the campus year-round. “Wooster just has this magical ability to be special no matter the time of year,” said Bellamy. While the beauty of the College was a definite bonus, the relationships that she formed and the education she received left the most substantial impact on her.

“In pretty much every part of myself, Wooster shaped me,” she said. Bellamy found that the emphasis on creative thinking and collaboration impacted her work after Wooster as the high school choir director for Okemos Public Schools in Okemos, Michigan. Her teaching experience has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and she credits the creativity and communication skills that she learned at the College for making the virtual learning experience positive for her students. She said that teaching ensemble music virtually was “like reimagining everything” about her profession. She also attributes her ability to adapt to such difficult circumstances to her liberal arts education, saying, “It creates well-rounded, worldly-minded people.”

“Wooster taught me to be a relationship-oriented educator,” said Bellamy, noting that she formed meaningful relationships with many professors in her major. Lisa Wong, associate professor of music taught her “how to think about creating ensemble music.” While Carrie Culver, associate professor of music, gave Bellamy insight into the importance of students feeling comfortable and confident in a classroom, and Matthew Broda, associate professor and department chair of education, taught Bellamy to teach creatively, a skill that is especially important during this age of virtual learning. Bellamy has combined those skills and lessons taught by Wong, Culver, and Broda to create a positive learning environment for her students. She sees the relationships formed with her students as essential.

Bellamy advises Wooster students to “savor the time you have; it goes so fast.” She credits her friendships to be the source of her fondest memories when she looks back on her time as a student. In fact, she met her husband, Benjamin Bellamy ’12, while at Wooster.

Posted in Alumni on January 26, 2022.