Panthers Of ISKL #83 – Jaymin Baird – The Musical Mentor

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This week we met up with Jaymin Baird,  who runs the High School choir program, and is Head of the Department for the Performing Arts at ISKL!

Most recently, Jaymin was selected for the University of Chicago’s (UoC) ‘Outstanding Educator Award’ due to the incredible impact she has had on our students and community through her musical activities. 

In her free time, she loves to cycle, do yoga, read, play cards, bake, spend time with friends and is currently taking French classes to bring back a level of mastery in the language! 

Here is her story. 

“I come from the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island, and have worked in the Dominican Republic and Montreal before coming to Malaysia. Since I was 14 years old, I taught music when I started my own private piano and singing studio and have been teaching Elementary School (ES), Middle School (MS), and High School (HS) classroom music throughout my career.

‘This is my 6th year at ISKL – my husband, Jonathan, and I were drawn to this school because of its fabulous reputation, family-like feel, and value on the arts. My day-to-day activities include teaching four curricular choirs, planning concerts and events, such as the Elements Talent Showcase, Jazz Night, and our curricular concerts, and running rehearsals for the IASAS Vocals team and the High School musical. I often work with students one-on-one on my preps on whatever fun projects they have on the go. My time is also spent collaborating with my music colleagues on our next event and bringing music even more to ISKL to enrich our students’ lives.

‘I was so surprised and flattered when I found out that I received the “Outstanding Educator Award” from the University of Chicago! Alumni student Aditya S. ’21 nominated me, and I do appreciate the time and effort he must have gone through to put my name in. Aditya was in my choir class for multiple years and was the lead drumset player in his time at ISKL – I also had the good fortune of traveling with him during the Global Action Program (GAP).”

 

Memories during the lockdown

“During the lockdown, the Virtual Virtuosos series started as an HS Music Department initiative to bring music and happiness to the ISKL community during the lockdown. We would feature class projects or recordings that students created as passion projects. It grew to feature musical talent from the community, from the youngest ISKL learners to staff members to ISKL alumni! It was a way to help fill a void created when we couldn’t be making music together. Even though we were apart, music helped to join us together again. 

‘Over 150 videos on our ISKL HS Music Instagram channel feature at-home projects and performances that we have since been able to do at school. We hope to continue this initiative, and the next thing that we will be posting there will be the performances from the upcoming HS Elements Talent Showcase.

‘Another important memory during the lockdown was ‘The Call to Unite,’ a 24-hour global event to raise money and awareness for Covid-19 with involvement from celebrities, visionaries, and leaders from all over the world! We got to be part of this initiative along with Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Deepak Chopra, Quincy Jones, and Marie Kondo, among so many others. The four ISKL choirs joined together, and we were one of only three choirs featured, and the experience was unbelievable. It took hundreds of hours of work and such amazing collaboration from so many members of our community. We performed a piece called “North” by “Sleeping at Last,” and it was a gorgeous musical creation. The work of our two student video editors, Rebecca C. (’20) and Ann G (’21), and the sound engineering by our music assistant Ashton Anthony brought the whole thing to such a high level of beauty and creativity. It is a moment in my teaching career that will never be forgotten.

‘Aside from these two events, one of my favorite projects with my students was creating our “Join Choir” posters. It is an initiative that we do every second year that allows the kids to be collaborative, creative and market our choir program to the school community. They come up with the scenarios, do photoshoots, and then come up with taglines for each image. We then post and share the photos in random places around the school.”

‘Currently, our Music department has just finished auditions for the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) Music, so we are getting those students ready for the Cultural Convention. My team is strong this year, and I am super excited to be coaching them! 

‘I am also planning the ‘Elements Talent Show’ with two of my students, Arissa MS. (’23) and Runna I. (’23), and we hope to live stream that by the end of November. The ISKL Singers and Jazz Night combo band are preparing for Jazz Night in January at Corus Hotel and one of our first live performances with an actual audience in a long time, which is thrilling to think about!”

 

What does Be All You Are mean to you? 

“To “Be All You Are” means to be the best and most authentic version of yourself. It means taking risks even if you might fail. It also connects with being a lifelong learner and recognizing that you will never be done developing. 

‘When I am in front of my students each day, they see the real me, and I hope that showing them my strengths and weaknesses allows them to be vulnerable enough to offer and accept theirs. Creating a safe space where everyone can be the best version of themselves and know that they have the freedom to make mistakes and take risks is so important to me. I very much value authentic and genuine relationships with everyone in my life, and to do that well, you have to be vulnerable, empathetic, and accepting.”

Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

To find out more inspiring stories of our faculty read about Margarita Bautista our alumni faculty or Monica Tindall the lifestyle blogger!