Charlsie Griffiths Finds Her Forte With New Fine Arts Department Role


//PICTURED ABOVE: Charlsie Griffiths sits in her new office as she takes on her new role in the Fine Arts Department.

In April, Charlsie Griffiths received the news that she would be the new Upper School History of Music teacher and Director of Orchestra at The Hockaday school.

The previous fine arts teacher and director of orchestra at Hockaday was Ed Long, who started teaching in 1974. Long, through his 47 years of teaching at Hockaday, also participated as the lead Fine Arts Department Chair and Dean of the Upper School until he retired at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Griffiths attended the Hockaday school for 14 years, then continued to the Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor and Master’s of Music. After getting her masters, she became a director of the orchestra at Rockwall High School.

Her last job dealt with more of the theories behind music, specifically how it was written. She also taught history of music at the Rockwall High School, but the class did not really look at the current day music or how we use music in society. It was more about the past.

“Arts are very important to our society and I think the history of music class really gives you an understanding of what the artist is and what it means to be a musician or composer,” Griffiths said.

In the History of Music class, the students look at how music has moved along with the culture and how it affects society.

“We are going to look at how it has changed and the direction that it is going towards,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths experienced the class as a student, prior to teaching it, when she attended Hockaday. The class has changed a lot since she was taught the curriculum.

“It’s interesting to see how in 20 years, just even how you deliver curriculum, has changed,” Griffiths said.

Her favorite part about the class is seeing what it was like to have been a student and now teaching the class. She also enjoys hearing the students thoughts about the music that she is teaching.

In future classes, Griffiths is looking at integrating some more information on world music, especially in a time where we have music so readily available. The history of music class already includes this but she wants students to really gain a strong knowledge of world music.

“I am looking at incorporating some more information on world music to see music from other cultures, and how it plays into our culture or how it is going to affect music,” Griffiths said.

Story and Photo by Julia Donovan.