My Music. My Story. Joseph Kinley.
Words by Marissa Boitnott
Joseph Kinley is currently a middle school social studies teacher in Indiana. He was a high school graduate of Richmond High School and received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University East in 2021. While his path has pulled him away from music, he still enjoys and understands how to utilize it.
What is your history with music and how has it affected your personal taste in music?
My family listened to music all the time. My dad and mom had a bunch of records and CDs. I remember when iTunes came out, and the big deal it was to burn all the CDs so we could have them in one library. My parents listened to a lot of stuff from the ‘60s,’ 70s, and ‘80s, mostly rock, pop, and some early hip-hop. Then because of my sister, who is ten years older, I learned a lot of stuff from the ‘90s, such as NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Then I grew up in the 2000s, so I knew that stuff. When Pandora and Spotify started, that opened my genre ideas to more alternative stuff like Radiohead and Pearl Jam.
Did you ever play an instrument and what was your experience with that?
I played baritone from the summer after 5th grade till my junior year of high school. I enjoyed it and really liked playing in the marching band. The first show I played was called As Luck Would Have It, and that was my favorite show I marched in. I decided to quit my junior year of high school because I didn’t want to take it as seriously as my peers did and the band director wanted us to, and I wanted to take a class called Radio TV instead. Radio TV had us create the announcements for the school along with other projects. One of the assignments we completed was creating a music video, which my friends and I find funny when we go back and watch the video now.
What were your main methods of experiencing music while you were in college?
I would mainly listen to music when I would go to the gym or study. I used to go to the gym twice a day so I would listen to lots of music then. When I would do homework, I would listen to film scores. John William and the Star Wars film scores are my favorite things to listen to.
Are there any ways you are able to incorporate music into your teaching?
I have used music in some of my lesson plans. For example, when I was teaching high school and learning about the Vietnam War, we looked at some protest music. In my middle school class, when we were looking at westward expansion, we listened to some music about the Oregon Trail. It helps the students relate to the subject a bit more. Depending on the day, I will either play lo-fi beats or some of my other favorite music to listen to while they are working independently
What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
My favorite part is getting to help future generations and make a difference in their lives. I am especially excited for later on when I see my students be successful and complete everything they want to do in their lives.