Guan Yi (Connie) Tu has been awarded the President’s Educator Fellowship during the UCI School of Education 2018-2019 Scholarship Award Ceremony. Guan Yi is pursuing her Single Subject Master of Arts in Teaching in Music.
A native of Taiwan, Guan Yi (Connie) Tu immigrated to the United States in the summer of 2010. As a first generation immigrant, she transferred into a local high school as a junior and went on to a local community college. Having earned her Bachelor's of Music degree in Piano Performance from a university, Guan Yi realized that music education is not very accessible for certain communities, especially communities with low socioeconomic status. This finding inspired her to move forward with her education and become a certified music teacher to serve in the communities where music education is an afterthought.
Guan Yi's transition from a foreign country to an English speaking one was not completely smooth. During the most stressful time of transition, music was her escape. In the world of music, Guan Yi could really express what she wanted to convey, without worrying about her lack of vocabulary or grammar mistakes. Her inspiration began when she attended her very first orchestra concert at her high school. The power of music struck her because she had never heard a live orchestra in front of her. She was amazed by the variety of sounds they could produce as an ensemble. She recalled the first day she stepped into the orchestra director’s office, telling him that she wanted to join the orchestra after watching the concert but did not having prior experience in playing string instruments. Fortunately, he told her that he welcomed anyone who wanted to play. Guan Yi ended up playing with the orchestra for the rest of her time in high school. Music instantly brought her into a world that could connect her with everyone.
It is Guan Yi's belief that music should belong to everyone. Everyone deserves a chance to get to learn and engage in musical activities as music simply makes one’s life more colorful. Music education also benefits students academically. A lot of school districts are cutting their budgets in education, and the Arts at the elementary level are usually the first subjects that the districts cut. This action does not help the future generations because they are missing the most important time to build the student’s interest and skill in music. Guan Yi believes that music education is essential and necessary. In the near future, she hopes to add a voice for the minorities such as underrepresented ethnic groups and low income families. She is committed to developing a musical environment that improves students’ success even with limited resources.
Guan Yi Tu and Single Subject Coordinator Acacia Warren