Patrice Barnett helps students find their melody

Music Professor Patrice Barnett’s love of teaching comes from the interaction between students and music, she said. Watching students master the goals they have set in her classroom gives her great joy.

To Barnett, the relationship between students and music is comparable to the relationship between body and soul, she said.

“Music is the voice within, giving delight to life itself and the knowledge is a new language that allows self-expression and creativity to bloom and flourish,” she said.

This philosophy is what originally prompted Barnett to pursue a career in music education.

“I teach music because it is an expression of the inner flame that every student should culture and express freely,” she said.

The exercise of the brain required when learning music “enhances the complete learning experience in every discipline,” said Barnett.

Barnett began teaching at South Puget Sound Community College seven years ago. Though she began as a music fundamentals instructor, she began teaching class piano courses when the piano lab was purchased.

Since beginning piano at age six, violin at age nine, and organ at age 12, these three instruments have remained her focus. Barnett’s Bachelor of Music Education began as a double scholarship for organ and violin.

Before beginning at SPSCC, Barnett worked for the String Preparatory and Suzuki Program at Texas Tech University for 13 years. She also taught private violin, piano, and organ lessons while in Texas and continues to teach violin and piano privately now.

Besides teaching, Barnett has worked as an organist at several different churches, currently at the First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma. She has also played in many different symphonies, chamber orchestras, and string quartets, including the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra.

At SPSCC, Barnett has found the motivation and responsiveness of her students very impressive, she said.
Throughout her work at the college, Barnett has found the support of her fellow faculty members for both her and the students’ aspirations really consistent, she said.

“The faculty and administrative staff at SPSCC are so supportive of one another, and I consider them to be my extended family,” said Barnett.

Barnett said the faculty works to stay current and to continue improving by constantly re-assessing the learning process.