A Reflection On Mrs. Stehn’s Ten Years As Band Director

Mrs. Stehn- for ten years she has been a band director, and for ten years she and previous band directors have helped the band program bring in UIL trophies, state championships, & most recently an extremely prestigious Midwestern Clinic performance. However, this will be her last year here making May 25th an incredibly memorable day for all band students. 

“She can help you with anything and is really nice, she is just really encouraging,” said Honors trumpet Lexi Koller (7).       

Ms. Stehn writing a note for a student (Mira Kondrakunta)

“I was at my first school for four years and I taught middle school and high school all four years there and I decided my fourth year there that I had to get out and I just applied to any job opening in Texas. I must have applied for like 25 jobs and I ended up getting a call for the job at Canyon Vista,” said Mrs. Stehn, Band Director.

Mrs. Stehn fell in love with band during her middle school years “When I was in middle school it was the only class I wanted to be in and when I was in high school it was like, literally the only thing I wanted to do and I would hang out in the band hall before school after school during classes when I wasn’t supposed to be in there. And eventually, my band director just gave me jobs, like teaching other kids when I got older and I just decided I want to do this forever. It’s so much fun. So, I just never stopped doing it,” said Mrs. Stehn.

“She is amazing, her attitude towards me and my fellow classmates has affected the way I behave. She taught me so many things and was there for my firsts. She would always smile and deal with my comments and my constant talking. She taught us lessons about appreciation and life,” said Beginner flute Judith Patricia Amulraj (6).

Mrs. Stehn faced difficulties early in her teaching career “It really, it was terrible. It was awful. Um, I was really young. And I know that 24 I guess I was 23. … I would have been 23 when I started. I know that doesn’t seem like really young to you, but it’s really young in the teaching world. And I just had no experience. I was teaching high school, so I was teaching like kids that were only five years younger than me” said Band director Mrs. Stehn, “That’s not a huge age gap. And I was at kind of a rough school where students would, like, be physically violent and they didn’t really care about, you know, doing their best. And so it was a really rough year.”

After getting the job here in CVMS; things were still not all smooth sailing, under the surface Mrs. Stehn was experiencing hardships with her anxiety and public speaking. “A lot of people don’t know this or maybe don’t realize, but I’m a really shy person. I don’t really like public speaking. I struggle a lot with anxiety. So the struggles that I’ve faced in this job are just being in front of a bunch of eyes watching me all the time,” said Mrs. Stehn Band Director. “ I’ve had to just kind of forget that that’s happening to kind of put myself in the band director mode of just having fun with kids and, and teaching stuff. But um yeah, I think it’s just like when you have a tough day, you can’t show it. It’s like you always have to be on, you always have to be in a good mood and sometimes it’s really tough because it kind of makes you have to not be human.” 

Even after all these hardships she has experienced, she is always learning from our band program “[CVMS Band] taught me how to be a band director. I learned all the best stuff from this school, I didn’t know anything before I came here. And the wonderful head directors that I’ve been able to work with, taught me how to be a great teacher, how to, you know, improve my technique, how to improve my skill, and what to focus on.” said Mrs. Stehn.

When asked, students have said that Mrs. Stehn has “greatly improved” their experience in band. Some even stated that without her they would not have continued with band.

“After only one week in Mrs Stehn’ s band I literally fell in love with band. She made me such an amazing player and helped me through so much stuff. If it weren’t for her I’m not sure I would be in a band today and meeting the people I know or being friends with them,” said Honors Tenor Trombone, Amelia Nuccitelli (8).

However this will be her last year here – “You know, it’s just time. I don’t think that any like teacher band director really stays at one school for like a long, long period of time and I’ve been here under four different head directors and so that’s just a lot of change for me to be at the same school but doing things differently every time, you know, a different head director comes in and it’s always been a fantastic experience” said Mrs. Stehn. “I just wanna do something different, I just kind of feel like I’m ready to have a new adventure.”

“She is a really good teacher and I really feel bad for the students who are going to come in the future who will not be able to have the same fun and joy that I had.” said select trombone, Connor Martinez (8).

Mrs. Stehn currently plans to become a band director at another school “Canyon Vista is one of those special programs where no matter who is leading the band, you guys are always gonna be great,” said Mrs. Stehn, “I feel like I would like to go to a program that maybe doesn’t have the same kind of great fundamentals that Canyon Vista does and kind of bring a little Canyon Vista to them.”

She also wants to help students who are currently struggling in band. “I really like working with those students that are like struggling and I love building them up and showing them that they can do something that they could never do before.” said Band director, Mrs. Stehn.

“She is such a fun and passionate band director. I so far have never seen a band director that seems like they enjoy band as much as her.” said Honors B flat clarinet, Maxwell Fullerton.

“I’m gonna miss them too. I would say I’m not going far and I’m not leaving because of you. I’m not leaving to get away from you. I’m not leaving to get away from Canyon Vista. I’m just leaving because I want a new adventure. Life is short,” said Mrs. Stehn.

“’I’m lucky to have had a band director that makes saying goodbye super hard,” said Honors Tuba Nathan Brown (8).