By: Benjamin West and Colson Warren
There are some new strings tuning up in the music room. Ms. Castrillon, the former strings teacher at Oakland Mills Middle School is now at hOMe!
Ever since she was a child, Ms. Castrillon has had a love for music. Her mother often tells her the story of how when she was 3 years old, she started playing the violin. When asked how long Ms. Castrillon has been playing instruments, she said, “I don’t remember a time when I was not playing instruments.” Ms. Castrillon has been playing music since she was a child and has played a variety of instruments. She played the euphonium in her high school wind ensemble, the bass drum in her high school marching band, and viola in her high school orchestra.
Ms. Castrillon was around instruments and music her whole life. Her father played clarinet and her mother was her high school orchestra teacher. This emphasized her love for music and helped shape her appreciation for teaching. “My mom was my high school orchestra teacher so I feel like I was almost apprenticed by being in her class. …I’d help her count fundraiser money and do all these other teacher tasks that normally we don’t get to see so I felt very prepared going into college that this was going to be my career.”
After graduating high school, Ms. Castrillon attended University of Maryland College Park for her undergraduate degree. She stayed at UMD and switched from violin to viola to get her masters degree in viola performance.
Ms. Castrillon started teaching orchestra at Talbott Springs Elementary School. She then went on to teach orchestra at Oakland Mills Middle School up until this year. This is her fourteenth year teaching, and she now teaches orchestra and music theory at Oakland Mills High School.
Switching from middle to high school has been a nice transition for Ms. Castrillon. “It’s really nice to be teaching high schoolers who are more independent, more proficient on their instruments; It’s especially nice to see former students now…more grown up, and a different part of their lives, and be able to…have seen them since they were 8 years old to 18 is pretty awesome,” Ms. Castrillon said.
Ms. Castrillon is super excited to be teaching music at the high school level. Her orchestra’s have never received less than a superior rating at assessments and she is excited to bring that to Oakland Mills.
Ms. Castrillon’s love for anything music shows in her eclectic taste. “I have a more diverse taste in music than people might think. I went to a high school that was similar to this, so I was always around a lot of diversity. I’ll listen to rap, I’ll listen to country, I’ll listen to kind of anything… I used to when I was in college, I loved the old school Kanye West, but I also like the Beatles… I love Brahams. All over the place!”
Ms. Castrillon is happier than ever to be at Oakland Mills High. She says “The students are amazing, you all are amazing! You are wonderful people, you’re kind, you’re helpful, you’re responsible, and I’ve just really enjoyed getting to know students that I haven’t taught before or to see students that I have taught before kind of grown up and in a different part of their lives. I’ve just enjoyed being here so much.”If you’re playing an instrument or interested, Ms. Castrillon would love to have you! Feel free to listen into the orchestra room any time and say hi to Ms. Castrillon!