Melissa Blum has over 20 years experience teaching music at the pre-K, elementary, middle school, and adult levels. She is a Vice President at West Music, where she is Director of Customer Service and an Educational Consultant for early childhood products and World Music Drumming. She has participated in the World Music Drumming summer workshops since 2004, completing Levels 1, 2, and 3 multiple times, and has completed Remo HealthRHYTHMS facilitator training. She has facilitated World Music Drumming ensembles as a team-building exercise at a variety of corporate and community events for children and adults, and is a clinician for daycare/preschool providers and ECMM educators on the topic of incorporating developmentally appropriate music activities in the pre-k classroom setting. She continues to teach early childhood music and movement classes and adult group drumming classes at West Music. Since 2009 Melissa has been on the faculty of the World Music Drumming Curriculum, teaching the class, “Drumming Up the Fun,” adapting World Music Drumming for teachers of children ages 3-8.
- What is your background in music, and how do you use that to help our customers?
I’ve literally been involved in music my entire life; a family photo when I was 6 months old includes my mother playing guitar and my father playing banjo—yes, it was the 60’s! I started piano at age 5, and when I was 9 I rented my first viola from West Music! My degree is in Music Education, and I have taught music continuously for the past 22 years in many capacities, for ages 0-adult. I continue to teach weekly early childhood classes at our West Music Coralville location and have the incredible opportunity to be one of the faculty members of the World Music Drumming Curriculum, teaching the workshop “Drumming Up the Fun!” throughout the summer. That wide variety of experience helps me understand the different challenges faced by our customers as well as gives me lots of practical knowledge about the products that might best fit their needs.
- What do you think are the strongest services that you can offer our customers
My knowledge about the products we offer and the ways they can be used in the classroom. I travel to lots of conferences and workshops so have had the chance to interact with our customers and our products—a great combination!
- What do you think sets West Music apart from the rest of the pack?
Our people—we have an incredible team and all of our staff are musicians, music educators, music therapists, or music enthusiasts. We believe in the mission of West Music!
- Describe the rapport that you develop with customers.
Working with customers is my favorite aspect of my job so I really enjoy learning about their specific situations and the way they are using music with their students, clients, or children. It’s very rewarding to hear from customers again and again and be able to find out how things are going for them and the West Music products that have enhanced their work. When I’ve spoken to a customer several times on the phone and then meet them in person at a conference it’s so much fun to make that connection!
- What aspects of music education have you most excited right now?
World Music Drumming is one of my very favorite programs and an area where I spend a great deal of my time. Each time I speak to a customer who is planning to start or expand their drumming program I’m so excited for them because I know how much their students will benefit. Mariachi is a newer initiative for us at West Music and I can’t wait to see the impact this will have for students all over the country!