For alumni, passions of music and teaching combine

Ray Biederman is living a superhero life.

During the day, Biederman works full-time at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where he received an internship as a Butler University music education major with a pre-law emphasis.

After work and on weekends, Biederman changes from lawyer to composer.

He graduated from Butler in 2006, but he still continues the work he started through the Butler Community Arts School. He works for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, a program dedicated to enriching and transforming the lives of young people in positive ways, according to its website.

“The community arts school was a great conduit for me,” he said. “It provided opportunities to meet educators that I wouldn’t have met normally.”

Biederman is one of many Butler students— in this case a Butler graduate— who have gotten to change the lives of local students through the BCAS.

Cha Park has worked with the program for seven years, even though she currently lives in Bloomington attending graduate school at Indiana University.

Park received her Butler degree in piano performance, with every intention of becoming a concert pianist.

She said the BCAS changed her life goal to include teaching, as she discovered her passion for passing on the knowledge she has received.

“Being a teaching fellow for the BCAS has given me an identity,” Park said. “I took two years off my schooling and was more actively teaching for BCAS while I was preparing to pursue a graduate degree. I really wanted to have a real experience of what it was like to teach students full-time.”

Recent graduate Shannon Crow  dedicated her four years at Butler  to the cause as well.

Crow decided to change her life goal as well but in a much more dramatic fashion.

“For nearly 20 years, I thought I was going to be a physician, but by having the opportunity to work with young people and teaching them an amazing craft, I realized that my heart and my time needed to remain with music and my students,” she said.

Junior music education major David Platt has volunteered since his freshman year.

“If anything it has only enhanced my teaching and perspectives on music education,” Platt said.

The BCAS has many stories just like these. Students found their passion for teaching and children that they might not have without an opportunity like the BCAS, even if it may not always be the easiest path.

Biederman said it is tough at times to juggle his volunteering and his real job, but he makes it work.

“I get to follow students as they grow up and see them become young adults and just know that I’ve been able to influence their lives in a positive way,” he said.

What is tangible from many Butler student involved with the BCAS is the enthusiasm.

“I still felt that I wanted something more than being on a stage and playing the piano,” Park said.

“Teaching has fulfilled that missing part that I was desperately seeking.”