Janet Vrudny, Music and English Teacher
BM Piano Performance, MM Choral Conducting, Cal State University Northridge.
Since becoming a teacher at Highland Hall Waldorf School in 1980, Janet Vrudny has been involved in Waldorf education. Over the many years at Highland Hall, she has taken courses offered by the Waldorf Institute of Southern California, by Waldorf pedagogue Patrice Maynard, and additional studies with master teacher, Douglas Gerwin.
What brought you to Waldorf Education?
"About a month after I graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1980 with my B.M. degree in Piano Performance, I attended a concert at CSUN and happened to run into a pianist friend of mine, who told me she was leaving her job as an accompanist at a small school in Northridge. She explained that the job was at Highland Hall Waldorf School, and I would be playing for a type of dance, called Eurythmy. I promptly said, “I am not going to be accompanying for dance, I’m a solo artist.” About three months later, with no other job prospects on the horizon, I happened to run into her again and she said that the job was still available. I promptly accepted the invitation to audition and was introduced to the world of Eurythmy and the tangible space between the tones. What ensued for me afterwards was an unfolding of the many layers of Waldorf education through Eurythmy and study."
Why do you like working with students?
"I am a student of the process of learning, the discovery, the attempts at understanding and mastery, and the opportunities to perform. I continue to learn right along with the students every day. Every time we learn a new piece in the junior high chorus, high school chorus, or handbell choir, together we have the opportunity to uncover the layers of music and work to help the piece come alive through our discovery. We are all in it together, and I like that.
What are your passions, interests and/or hobbies outside of teaching that might be of interest to your students?
"I have been a professional singer and conductor in vocal ensembles and handbell choirs, and have concertized in the United States and Europe. I’ve also had opportunities to be in a number of recording sessions as a conductor and singer. Additionally, I am a golfer and enjoy playing golf for fun and in tournament settings. Performing music and the act of swinging a golf club are very similar activities for me, as they are both extremely exacting, with an endless list of what to do and what not to do, and yet it is ultimately all about flow, about getting out of your own way with any tension and fear and opening your heart to the experience. To be present in any given moment is my biggest goal"
Anything else you want to add?
"After working at Highland Hall Waldorf School for twenty years, I was granted a partial sabbatical and began the Masters’ of Music program in Choral Conducting at Cal State Northridge. I completed my MM degree in 2004. Additionally, I enjoy working at a school where I can sit on committees and help to shape the future of the school."