Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Questions with Jackie Martino

Jackie Martino (B.M. 1992) studied Musical Theater Direction and Music Education at Hartt from 1987 to 1992.  She is currently living in Norwalk, CT.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Hartt?

Wow, it has been a long time.  After graduating Hartt, I went through the struggle that many college graduates do, in trying to find work in their field.  However, after an early 20’s struggle, I started teaching piano, voice, and guitar in a studio for about 8 years.  At this same time I continued writing and recording music. In 1999, I got my Masters degree for S.U.N.Y. Purchase in studio composition and released my first CD Run.  I performed with my band and solo in festivals and venues across the United States.  My most notable gigs were probably the Bitter End and the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC.  In 2001, I began teaching at the King School in Stamford where I am today.  I started teaching middle school choir and theater.  Currently, I am the department chair for the performing arts department and I teach choir, piano, guitar, and direct and music direct the musical in the high school.  In January of 2014, I received my Doctorate in Music Education from Boston University.  My dissertation was an Action Research on Critical Pedagogy and Informal Music Learning with 8th grade general music students.

What are you involved with right now?

Right now, in addition to working, I am very passionate about an El Sistema music program I am working with in Brazil called Orquestrando a Vida.  El Sistema provides music education to children who live in very poor communities.  It began in Venezuela and they are all over the world.  I have been involved with this particular one since 2012.  It is located in Campos Brazil.  Because the program is an NGO, it is constantly struggling to keep the doors open.  I have been there four times since 2012 and started teaching choral music.  It has since continued the vocal program and has choirs that perform. I hope everyone reading this will remember how important music is in their own lives and understand that there are people all over the world who do not have the same opportunities we have because of their economic status.

I hope you will all take a moment to look at my gofundme page, and pass it on to every music educator you know.  We are about spreading the word of this great program. www.gofundme/orquestrandoavida 

As you can see I am pretty passionate about it.

What is one of your most memorable things about your time at Hartt?
There are 2 things.  The first is the friends and people I met at Hartt.  The beauty of Facebook is that many of us still keep in contact.  I loved being involved in theater both on and off stage and the many hours I spend with my friends.  The second would be my time with Roger Ames. Roger was the head of the musical theater program when I was there, and he also was my composing and musical theater mentor.  He was my life mentor too! Anyway, I would not be the composer or the teacher I am today, without his guidance. 

What did you learn during your time at Hartt that you did not appreciate or recognize until after time passed and you had some time to reflect?

I did not fully appreciate the education I was getting until long after I finished.  I now realize how lucky I was to be able to go to a conservatory, not have to work, and just focus on music.  So many people do not have that opportunity and I am glad that I did. 

What is next for you?

I hope to get more involved in Orquestrando a Vida in Brazil and really raise the level of fundraising and awareness for this organization.  I hope to put together a documentary about the school and write some articles.  I am also composing and hope to release some new songs soon.

If you want people to get in touch, how can they do so? I invite people to check out my 3 CDs on iTunes or any online provider. Please check out on Facebook music for life/orquestrando a vida and If anyone wants to reach out or has questions, please feel free to contact me at

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