By: Ben Yoder
Benjamin “Ben” Yoder, born in Goshen, Indiana, is a dedicated music educator and trainer based in Indianapolis. He grew up in a nurturing environment with his parents and sister Maria, fostering his love for the arts and the outdoors. Ben is an alumnus of Concord High School, graduating in 2003. There, he actively participated in orchestra, choir, swimming & diving, and theatre, including roles in regional community theatre productions like the Elkhart Civic Theatre.
Ben furthered his passion for music at Ball State University, earning a B.S. in Music Education in 2007 and engaging in post-graduate work. His commitment to education is evident from his 16-year tenure as a public school teacher in Indiana. During this period, Ben impacted over 5000 students, specializing in string instruments and directing numerous musical productions. His expertise led him to be a sought-after guest conductor and adjudicator, with notable engagements at the East Kentwood Summer Orchestra Program, Tennessee All-West Middle School Honors Orchestra, and The University of Memphis Summer Music Program.
A proponent of continuous learning, Ben has presented at various conferences on topics like string pedagogy and musical theatre production strategies. His efforts have been recognized with several awards, including being a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Grammy Award in 2018, the Beneficence Award for service to Ball State University in 2022, and the Graduate of the Last Decade Award from Ball State University in 2016.
In his personal life, Ben Yoder enjoys reading, outdoor activities, live music, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new restaurants. He values reflection, growth, and professional development, maintaining a balanced life through effective time management and self-care strategies like napping and mindfulness. Influenced by his mentors, colleagues, and students, Ben continues to dream big and set new goals, always striving for success in both his personal and professional life.
Behind the Baton: In Conversation with Ben Yoder
What inspired you to pursue a career in music education?
Growing up in Goshen with a supportive family, I was always drawn to music and the arts. My experiences in high school orchestra and theatre really solidified my passion. I wanted to give back and inspire the next generation just as I was inspired.
Can you share a memorable experience from your time teaching in public schools?
Absolutely! One of the most memorable experiences was directing a school musical that brought out talents in students they didn’t know they had. Seeing their confidence grow on stage was truly rewarding.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career so far?
Being recognized as a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Grammy Award was a highlight, but personally, it’s the impact I’ve had on over 5000 students. Knowing I’ve played a part in their musical journey is incredibly fulfilling.
How do you stay motivated and avoid burnout in such a demanding profession?
Balance is key. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ when necessary and ‘yes’ when it’s something I’m passionate about. Taking time for myself, like enjoying a good nap or spending time outdoors, helps me recharge.
What advice would you give to aspiring music educators?
Stay passionate, be patient, and always be open to learning. This field is as rewarding as it is challenging, and your enthusiasm will be your greatest tool in inspiring your students.
How do you approach challenges and obstacles in your career?
I believe in facing challenges head-on, with a servant heart and a creative mind. Reflecting on what can be improved and seeking advice from mentors and colleagues has always helped me navigate through obstacles.
What’s next for you in your professional journey?
I’m focused on expanding my guest conducting and adjudication roles, and continuing my work in string pedagogy. I also look forward to more opportunities to mentor and support upcoming educators in the field.
- Passion and Impact in Education: Ben Yoder’s journey highlights the profound impact a passionate educator can have. His commitment to music education and his role in influencing over 5000 students showcases the importance of dedicated teaching and the lasting effect it can have on young lives.
- Balance and Self-Care in a Demanding Career: Ben emphasizes the significance of maintaining a work-life balance and the necessity of self-care strategies to prevent burnout. His approach of knowing when to say ‘no’, prioritizing personal interests, and using simple methods like napping for rejuvenation serves as valuable advice for professionals in high-pressure careers.
Continuous Growth and Learning: Despite his achievements, Ben remains committed to continuous professional development and learning. His involvement in guest conducting, adjudication, and ongoing education efforts reflect the importance of lifelong learning and adapting to new challenges and opportunities in one’s career.