Recent Music Education Grad Emily Hazlett Loves Teaching High School Music

Emily Hazlett graduated from Seton Hill in May 2021 with a degree in music education. She started substituting at Commodore Perry School District the week after graduation. Then she was hired for a full-time music education position at Greensburg Salem in July.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Emily said. “I moved into my new apartment with my boyfriend, whom I met freshman year of Seton Hill, in the beginning of August, and school started later that same month!” 

Emily teaches Intro to Music Theory, AP Music Theory, Senior Choir, and Mixed Choir during the day. After school, she runs rehearsals for the high school musical (this year it’s “Les Miserables”) and the show choir, Select Ensemble. 

“My students are the absolute best part of my day,” Emily said. “They tell me that they like having a young teacher like me because I can still relate to them and have empathy for what high school life is like.” 

Emily credits her courses at Seton Hill for preparing her for her first full-time teaching job. Her Harmony and Aural Theory courses prepared her for teaching AP Music Theory, a position she did not anticipate. 

“While nothing quite prepares you for entering your own classroom for the first time as a teacher, I was as prepared as possible thanks to the music education program at Seton Hill,” Emily said. “Not only was I well-versed in music education philosophy and best practices, but I had gathered experience running fundraisers, creating concert programs, and so many other parts of the job that often get overlooked. Although my coursework prepared me the most for my career, the overall experiences at Seton Hill developed me into a hardworking professional which has allowed me to be successful in my work.”

Emily still communicates with her music professors at Seton Hill to talk and get advice. 

"Although my coursework prepared me the most for my career, the overall experiences at Seton Hill developed me into a hardworking professional which has allowed me to be successful in my work.”

“Dr. Vaughan-Marra and Dr. Marra were both extremely helpful with creating music education curriculum that is relevant and applicable to my everyday reality now,” Emily said. “Jennifer Herrington from Norwin School District was my mentor when I was student teaching.  She continues to support me and answers any questions that I might have. Her support means the world to me. I also still maintain contact with  Mr. Anderson and Professor Campbell from Seton Hill. They worked with me on my written and aural theory skills, which gave me the confidence to teach the difficult coursework in AP Music Theory. The amount of support that I received, not only during my coursework at Seton Hill, but also after graduation has been invaluable to me.” 

Emily chose Seton Hill because the professors and students made her feel welcome when she was visiting as a high school student. 

“I chose Seton Hill because, from my first visit, it felt as much like a home as it did like a school,” she said. “I felt as though I could be challenged while still feeling accomplished.” 

She has known she wanted to be a teacher her entire life. Her aunt and father were teachers, and she was inspired by her own teachers growing up. 

“I wanted to be a teacher so that I could help students the way that my teachers helped me. Music and singing have always been enormous passions of mine. My passions for music and for education combined easily into deciding that I wanted to be a music teacher.” 

One of her biggest suggestions to students entering into music education is to set boundaries between their personal and professional lives. For Emily, this means listening to her daily Pittsburgh Steelers podcast and spending time with her new kitten, Zeb. She plays board games and watches football to decompress. Emily and her boyfriend have also started getting into cooking, perfecting the art of fried chicken. 

“Everyone needs time to decompress and relax,” Emily said. "Setting up time for yourself to put work aside and focus on loved ones is incredibly valuable. Those boundaries will help you to be a happier person who is more mentally ready to help your students. If you are willing to put in the work to be a music educator, it is a rewarding career. I am very happy with my decision to work in this field.”

Photo: Emily with her dog Max.