Posting Date: January 30, 2013
Meet Holly Botella: Shaping the minds of next generation’s musicians
By Nicholas Hinterhauser
Holly Botella’s musical journey started at the age of 6 when she unwrapped a flute on Christmas morning. “My babysitter played flute, so I asked Santa for a flute and the rest is history,” Holly shares. Perhaps her babysitter had more than just a musical influence, considering Holly's development of a strong love for children. Choosing to specialize in music education, she states, “I love kids, I babysit all the time and I’m always around them, so I went for teaching.”
Holly’s contemporary influences are filled with figures from the faculty of KSU's School of Music. She admires Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education Alison Mann’s perseverance and enthusiasm in the classroom, stating that, “she is full of life and always inspired me to be enthusiastic no matter how I’m feeling. She would come to class with a fever and we wouldn’t even know it.” Director of Orchestras Michael Alexander is another professor who has had a profound impact on Holly’s journey. “He knows his craft better than anybody I’ve met in my life,” Holly shares. She greatly enjoys the historical lessons he gives about each piece she plays. Holly also appreciates Associate Professor of Music David Kehler and the high expectations he places on his students. “He really knows how to inspire you to do better," she says. "He’s not afraid to call you out if he can tell you didn’t practice.”
Holly, who graduated from the School of Music in December 2012, jumped at the chance to be a student teacher at Newnan Crossing Elementary where she teaches general music to kindergarten through fifth grade. Holly believes KSU has been crucial in preparing her for those unexpected moments in the classroom. “Within the first two weeks, three kids puked in my class. I learned here how to indirectly deal with that by being taught how to think on my feet,” Holly says. She shares a moment in Mann’s class where she was given a random object and asked to teach the class a singing technique based on that object. “I got an oven mitt, so I was thinking maybe a warm tone. They throw that kind of stuff at you in your music education classes all the time,” Holly shares. Alexander boasts Holly’s potential as a teacher, saying that, “Holly is a spirited student that relates amazingly well to people. This and her passion for spreading her joy of music will make her a tremendous teacher.”
Despite the joy she gets from teaching, Holly still wants to make time for performance. She is considering auditioning for the Georgia Symphony Orchestra so she can keep playing flute on the side after she starts teaching full-time. Holly has been involved in a variety of KSU's student performance groups, including her role as principal flute and piccolo in the wind ensemble of the KSU Symphony Orchestra, three years of singing in the Women’s Chorus, playing in the KSU Mixed Chamber Ensembles and Woodwind Quintet and pit performance in KSU’s Opera Theatre. In December of 2010, she travelled to China with the orchestra on a three-concert tour including a performance at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. The orchestra’s finale broke a light fixture in the performance hall and Holly jokes that, “it just shows how we can tear the house down here at KSU.” If she chooses to pursue it, Holly’s extensive experience at KSU suggests a promising future in professional performance.