Welcome to my Professional Portfolio!

Kristen N. Hjelmaas
Undergraduate Student- BMED Candidate
 VanderCook College of Music

Background and Credentials

I am a student at VanderCook College of Music working towards a Bachelor of Music Education degree. My major instrument is the clarinet but I am studying all instruments and learning how to teach music classes in choral, general music  and instrumental music areas. I hope one day to teach band at the middle school level or elementary general music.   Before enrolling at VanderCook, I was a student at Blue Valley West High School where I played clarinet in the Symphonic band, marching band and clarinet quartet, bass clarinet in the pit orchestra, and tenor sax in the jazz band.

I grew up in the Kansas City area and learned to love music from many teachers. I was a member of the Kansas City Youth Symphony, the Kansas University Youth Wind Symphony, and the Olathe Civic Band.

I currently serve as the President of the VanderCook collegiate chapter of the National Band Association and co-Vice President of the VanderCook chapter of the National Association for Music Education. 

Philosophy of Teaching
  1. RESPECT. All people deserve to be accepted and treated with respect no matter what their background. Students should acknowledge and value differences in their peers and others around them. 
  2. LEARNING. The teacher should be constantly working to know the strengths and weaknesses of individual students in order to optimize their learning experience. Students should be involved in goal setting in order to measure their progress as well as testing to measure what they are learning in class.
  3. SAFETY. All students deserve to learn in what they perceive as a safe learning environment. Both students and teacher should be aware of their environment and work collaboratively to create a safe environment.
  4. COMMUNICATION. Students should feel welcomed to discuss with the teacher anything they need to, whether it occurs inside or outside of class, given the appropriate time. Students should also work to communicate well with their classmates in order to create a collaborative musical experience.
  5. CREATIVITY. Music is an expression of our souls, do not be afraid to make mistakes and put yourself out there. Take musical risks.
  6. EMPOWERMENT. Students should feel empowered to drop other personal and emotional “baggage” at the door in order to fully participate in the music-making experience. 

About VanderCook College of Music

VanderCook College of Music is the only degree-granting institution in the United States solely dedicated to music teacher education. The mission of the college is to enrich the lives of present and future generations through the preparation of teachers in instrumental, choral, and general music disciplines. Its broad-based curriculum is designed to prepare teachers with strong character, skill in the process of teaching, and respect for the essential role of music in our culture. 

VanderCook's Conceptual Framework

The Conceptual Framework of VanderCook College of Music is built from three essential attributes: Professionalism in teaching, excellence in music, and strength in character. This framework directs the programs, courses, teachings, assessment of candidates and faculty, scholarship, service and accountability of the College as a whole. My personal experiences as a student in the BMEd program enhanced my understanding of my profession and myself with respect to each of these attributes. To see more, please go to  VCM Conceptual Framework.