This is dedication: the class of 2024

In her five years at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Tiffany Holman ’23, M.A. ’24, has logged hundreds of hours in the lobby of Mauney Music Building. Some days she works on her French horn skills in a practice room and other days she helps Neil Underwood, director of bands, with the day’s activities for the wind ensemble. Underwood’s passion for teaching is well-known on campus, and Holman has followed that example of passion as she completes her master of arts in teaching with plans to change the lives of young musicians like herself. Underwood retired from LR in May 2024.

Tiffany Holman stands in front of Mauney Music Building

“I want to be someone my students know that they can confide in if needed,” shared Holman. “And I want my students to see me as a person they would want to recreate in themselves.” 

Holman first discovered marching band and music while watching her older sister march at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Holman would soon follow in her sister’s footsteps. 

“I remember seeing her march across the field one day, and I told my mom that's what I want to do,” Holman recalled. “My mom was very supportive, so I hit the ground running in middle school and became the librarian for my middle school band director. When he was absent, I’d step in and run through stuff with the rest of the class. Since the beginning, since my sixth-grade year, performing and teaching have been combined for me.”

As her love for music evolved, a Music Performance Adjudication (MPA) trip to LR with her high school band solidified her choice to study here. “I toured the campus after our MPA performance, and I immediately fell in love with everything LR had to offer, especially the music program.”

Holman’s study of music at LR also paved the way for her to continue into her master’s degree. The Master of Arts in Teaching program provides students the opportunity to earn a graduate degree along with secondary or K-12 teaching licensure for students who did not pursue an education degree as an undergraduate. 

Tiffany Holman stands in front of Mauney Music Building

“During my semester, we start with just intern hours and over time begin to pick up other responsibilities. The first two or three weeks, you are mostly observing,” she explained. “You slowly pick up other classes over time. By March of 2024, I’d picked up winter guard, music appreciation, and symphonic band. I’ve expanded my love for music and my love for education.”

Also in March, tragedy struck at Arndt Middle School in Hickory when the band director became critically ill. Holman took over coverage of the position while continuing her teaching internship at Fred T. Foard High School alongside her mentor, Foard band director Adam Reinhardt.

“I’ve been lucky to have excellent mentoring and support. It has been a unique journey, not the way I would have wanted it to happen, but I’ve been grateful for the extra experience and for the opportunity to support the students at Arndt when they needed it most,” said Holman. “That kind of opportunity, to do good where it’s needed, that’s what drew me to teaching.”

Holman noted how a band director wears many hats, watching her mentors in the schools and at LR balance not just the students’ activities but also providing a safe space for all of their students. She is eager to continue that legacy in her own classroom.

“Band got me through school, and for some kids it’s what gets them through the day,” she observed. “I think back to my own time, which has inspired me to create that relationship with students that shows them they have a person they can go to when they need it, a place where they belong.”

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