Panya Amphone, 2020 Music Education and Mathematics
When Panya Amphone graduated from Friends University in 2020, he would have never anticipated starting his music education career in the middle of a global pandemic. As he began directing choirs and orchestras at Mayberry Cultural and Fine Arts Magnet in Wichita, he was forced to dive head-first into the uncharted waters of online learning. Like many teachers, Panya felt the waves of disappointment in having to meet his first class of students through a computer screen. But he knew his Friends University education afforded him some valuable tools to help him adapt, be resilient, and find creative solutions to connect with his students.
Payna pursued a double major in mathematics and music education at Friends. His music education courses allowed him to press into his passion for music, while the math degree was just “for fun.” Throughout his life, he was inspired by the music directors and teachers who shaped his talent. This stirred in him a desire to create his own classroom environment where students would thrive musically as well as feel safe and included.
His undergraduate professors provided him with a “rigorous, quality education, which prepared me to face the challenges in my professional career as well as the world around me.” He learned how to structure lessons that would captivate young musicians, help them grow in their musicianship, while keeping it fun.
Now teaching in a hybrid learning environment, Panya gets to incorporate elements of his Friends University education into his classroom. His students experience dance, music, and visual arts each day. His desire is that these young musicians would see the value of integrating art into all areas of their lives.
Beyond music, Payna hopes to show his students the value of loving their neighbors, communicating with respect, and fostering a spirit of empathy. He knows he’s not just molding young minds in the realm of music: he is developing young leaders who are future changemakers. His motto: be brave, love others, be seen.