CPP Magazine

Broncos at Work

Kirstie Gallacher-Ang, '14, music

Music Therapist, Owner of Rubato Music Therapy

Kristie Gallagher-AngHow would you describe your career?

I visit clients/students in their homes for 1:1 music therapy sessions and teach music lessons. Previously, I worked with adults with intellectual disabilities and led group music therapy sessions, directed ensembles, and taught music, writing and other classes. I’m working on my master’s in special education.

What musical instruments do you play?

For music therapy, I use guitar, keyboard and lots of percussion! My primary instrument was the flute, and I’m learning the harp.

What is your favorite part about running your own music therapy business?

I love seeing people grow at their own pace, whether it’s as momentous as a client speaking their first words or as gratifying as a student mastering a new note. The best part about owning a business is the freedom to make decisions and the ability to communicate directly with clients/students and their families.

How did Cal Poly Pomona prepare you for your career?

My classes prepared me to wear many hats. Arranging, conducting, and Concert Choir gave me a foundation to direct ensembles and adapt music depending on instrumentation and students’ skill levels. Songwriting and recording polished my ability to help clients to express themselves. Musicianship made me a better musician. Professor [Arthur] Winer allowed me to complete my music industry studies internship with music therapists, which led to volunteer work and eventually a job!

What advice would you offer students?

I was not diagnosed with clinical anxiety until I was in my mid-20s. As a college student, I was constantly stressed out and cried in a professor’s office more than once. If that sounds familiar, please know that it does not have to be your normal. There are resources on campus such as Student Health and Wellness Services that can support you.

Kateri Liro, ’10, music

Music Educator and Multidisciplinary Artist

23kateri-liro.jpgHow would you describe your career?

My career has not been linear, but it has been steady. I grew up with both my parents listening to a lot of music in the home, and I remember feeling connected to songs that they listened to. I started playing professionally at the age of 13 as a piano accompanist for musical theaters and churches and grew up attending several concerts and shows. I wanted to learn how to make these productions happen, so I got to freelance as a production assistant at some of my favorite concerts. That led to opportunities to support video productions and other projects with non-profit organizations and corporations.

What musical instruments do you play?

Piano, ukulele, and I sing. What is your favorite part about teaching music? The best part of teaching music isn’t the music. It’s helping students find their authentic voices. I’m not a band or orchestra teacher. I’m not a choir director. My practice involves songwriting, composition and artistic expression.

How did Cal Poly Pomona prepare you for your career?

Cal Poly Pomona offered me a Kellogg Scholarship so that I could attend college. I felt like my professors saw me as a peer as opposed to fostering a hierarchical teacher-student relationship. This type of co-learning relationship set the stage for my master’s program and changed my teaching style completely. Now, my students co-lead the curriculum I’m teaching at Angeles Workshop School.

What advice would you offer students?

Go for what you want and don’t go at it alone. In order to do this, you have to dig deep and do a lot of inner work. It’s hard work, but once you’re there, you’ll have a direction to keep you focused for the rest of your life.