A recent Bowling Green State University graduate is hoping to use her passion for music to inspire the next generation of musicians just like her former band director did for her.
Lainie Roper was in fifth grade when she had to decide between taking band to fill an open period in her class schedule or using that time for study hall.
Assuming she would enjoy playing instruments more, the Toledo native chose band and to play trombone – unknowingly setting herself on a path to a future in music.
Roper graduated this fall from BGSU with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
“It’s kind of funny to think about,” Roper said. “That one decision I made as a fifth grader ultimately led me down this path. I had no idea at the time how impactful it would be.”
During the many years in band that followed, Roper said her love of music continued to grow. Her passion deepened in high school when she met Jay Welenc, the band and studio orchestra director at Toledo School for the Arts.
“I could sense that he truly loved his job and really had a passion for teaching us music,” Roper said. “He’s the reason I chose to study music education. I hope I can inspire my future students in a similar way. I want to help them discover the joy in music and develop the skills they need to play.”
Brittany Lasch, assistant professor of trombone at BGSU, said she’s confident Roper will do just that.
“Lainie is always going one step beyond what’s required,” Lasch said. “It’s those little things she does to push herself and the industry that will make her an outstanding music educator.”
Roper said the support of the College of Musical Arts faculty, including Lasch, has been integral to her success in the program.
“I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said. “There have been times when I felt like this was impossible. But the faculty’s continued support has helped get me to this point.”
Roper spent the fall semester student teaching junior high and high school band at Anthony Wayne Local School District in Whitehouse.
Although her time in the classroom was limited to just a few months, Roper said several memorable interactions with the students reaffirmed that she is following the right career path.
“It makes me happy to see my small impact on them,” Roper said. “Seeing their progress throughout the semester and knowing I had a hand in that is one of the best things about being a teacher. Those moments signify that I’m where I’m meant to be.”