Professor Erin Aldridge directs the orchestra and teaches violin and other music subjects at UW-Superior. She serves as concertmaster of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and maintains an active performing schedule both as a chamber musician and a featured soloist. She has performed throughout the United States and Europe.
Why did you become a college professor of music?
"Actually, I had always wanted to be a professor but wasn't sure how that worked when I was younger. It was always on my radar. I love to teach, and I especially loved to be in college. I also loved to play and perform. I knew that having a job at a university would allow me the best of both worlds, teaching and performing."
What is your philosophy of teaching music?
"My teaching philosophy is that you have to have a really solid grasp of the fundamentals of violin playing, the pedagogy, before you can teach it. Once you've mastered that, then you individualize it for the student and make it, so they can achieve the best they can, rather than merely forcing the students to change to the pedagogy. I think there's a happy medium."
Why did you choose to teach at a liberal arts university?
"A liberal arts university like UW-Superior gives everyone a chance to get outside of their comfort zone and work across boundaries. It's a chance for students to learn a variety of different topics and a chance to do some unique collaborations and cross departmental projects. The small size is what makes the individual attention possible. I did a collaboration with business faculty member Ethan Christensen on how jingles work in commercials and get people's attention and manipulate emotions. I've also done some work with film studies professor Brett Nothbom on film scores."
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
"My most recent accomplishment is that I just got promoted to full professor. In terms of the recognition of the work that you've done, that's a really big milestone. Also, any time my students go out and play great and get the recognition they deserve, then I'm a proud mama."
What kind of work do you do in the community?
"For me, it's going out into the schools, whether it's playing little concerts for elementary grade students or working with high school orchestra programs in the area. We do a lot of outreach and teaching through symphony."
What's your favorite thing about UW-Superior?
"I love my department. We all work really well together, and we have really great students. It makes coming to work very fun and enjoyable."