MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT: Megan Kehren, KSYO conductor and KSO Violist
Many music teachers tell their students, “I was once where you are.” In Megan Kehren’s case, she was EXACTLY where her students are – taking her seat as a violist in the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra (KSYO), and now as an adult, she leads a youth training orchestra for the KSYO.
A member of the viola section since 2011, Megan also teaches privately as a Suzuki teacher in Knoxville, as adjunct instructor of violin and viola at Maryville College, and teaching with the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra as the Junior Orchestra conductor.
“A life with music has taught me patience. Music is something that we all connect with easily yet learning how to communicate it takes much time and discipline. It’s often an emotional process with many highs and lows.”
Megan is passionate about using music as a tool to build self-esteem in her students and doing her part to help cultivate kind human beings. She began teaching viola lessons at age 18 years old, and believes that one of the most important things we learn in the process of teaching/learning is to have a long term vision and commitment and build the skill of perseverance when things are less than rosy.
“I want my students to know: Music always gives back what you’ve put into it. It is the ultimate connector of all cultures and hearts and we really aren’t as different as we seem.”
While it’s common for siblings to be musical and play instruments together, it’s less common for twin sisters to play the same instrument.
Megan and Erin enjoy playing together in their trio, Encore Strings, and regularly book weddings and special events. Erin also plays the violin, and the sisters had fun trading instruments back and forth and learning each other’s pieces of music in addition to their own. They worked together instead of competing against one another. Their brother, Wes, plays acoustic and electric guitar.
In her spare time Megan loves exploring the world with her husband, Frank and hiking places she never could have dreamed of as well as hanging out with their cat, Charlie.
When asked what led her to choose a career in music, Megan says she is one of those people that just knew. “The viola chose me back in my fifth grade strings class and I never doubted that gut instinct. It will always challenge me and I honestly can’t imagine spending my life differently.”