When Elizabeth Dandeneau was first introduced to the flute in the fourth grade, she couldn’t make a sound with it. But a natural passion for the instrument, sparked by supportive teachers, changed all that and by eighth grade she knew that she would build her life around music.
Entering her sophomore year at WestConn in fall 2010, Dandeneau is now studying to become a music teacher in the university’s music education program. “Music has always been important to me and it comes easily to me,” said the Marlborough, Conn., resident.
Dandeneau, a finalist in the James Fuhrman recital this spring, said teaching will be a way for her to balance playing professionally and sharing her gift with others. For the past several years, she has volunteered at area music camps.
“I like helping people,” she said. “People often don’t realize what a good music program can do for a child. It teaches discipline, because you need to practice and be willing to work on it. And you learn social skills. Most of my friends I met through music and it helped me come out of my shell.”
Although she originally planned on attending a private conservatory after high school, Dandeneau realized that WestConn offered affordability and an opportunity to earn a master’s degree.
“As soon as I came here I was impressed with the level of teaching here,” she said. “I am very glad that I came here. With Dr. (Kerry) Walker’s help, I learned how to push myself to get better. And I still want to get a lot better.”
Dandeneau’s tuition is paid with the help of supportive parents and through student loans, and she gratefully received a $1,000 scholarship last fall from the Friends of Music.
“The scholarship does make a difference. It’s sort of a way of the university saying it has confidence in you. Scholarships are a way of saying you’ve really proven yourself. And because of that I try to do the absolute best I can,” Dandeneau said.