Student Spotlight: Gabrielle Rodriguez

The music education graduate student explores new teaching methods, connects her classes to her Filipino roots, and shares her favorite film music.

November 28, 2022

What’s it like to study at Berklee? Our Student Spotlight series asks current students all about their Berklee experience—what they’re learning in class, what kinds of projects they’re involved in onstage or behind the scenes, how they recharge, and of course, what they’re listening to. This week, get to know Gabrielle Rodriguez, a pianist and graduate student from the Philippines currently in her second semester in Berklee's master of music education (autism concentration) program.

Tell us about your path to Berklee. What made you decide to come here?

Berklee is known to be one of the best music schools in the world. Its music education program provides the best opportunities for students who aspire to be the best music educators in the future. Aside from this, I chose Berklee because of the pioneering course [of study] I am currently taking. Their music education with autism concentration program became the deal-maker for me. I know I made the right decision because I am learning so much from the school’s amazing faculty and students.

What's been your favorite class so far, and what has it taught you?

I have equally enjoyed all the courses I have taken. But if I have to choose, my favorite one would be the Practicum in Music Education and Autism that I am currently taking. I have been learning so much from Dr. Rhoda Bernard. She’s a brilliant professor. I also enjoy learning from my peers in this class. Most of them have already been teaching for a long time and have gained experience in this field. Additionally, this course deals intensively with my program and provides hands-on experience and strategies for how to teach students with autism. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach meets the needs and abilities of all learners and removes any learning barriers. By implementing the UDL framework, we give students more learning opportunities in the classroom.

What's a project you've worked on since coming to Berklee that you've been especially excited about?

When I took Professor Stefani Langol’s music technology class, we were asked to make a podcast for our final project about anything we wanted that’s related to music, music technology, or music education. I enjoyed this project because I got to share my experiences and show how music relates to, and reflects, politics in the Philippines. This project allowed me to explore different avenues of music and explore more about my culture and the Philippines’ history and share it with my peers.

Gabrielle Rodriguez in an apple orchard

Gabrielle Rodriguez

How do you typically recharge or find new ideas outside of class?

I have not been here that long and have not seen the whole of Massachusetts. So whenever I get the time, I usually recharge by exploring and visiting new and interesting places around Massachusetts.

When you think towards your own future, who inspires you most?

The students I currently work with and those who I’ll be working with in the future are the people who inspire me most. They keep me grounded while driving my desire to foster and develop the overflowing potential they have in learning music. I am always excited to be part of their musical journey. 

What's one piece of advice you'd give to your high school self?

Stay focused and keep practicing. It’s worth it. Keep doing whatever you’re doing now. Don’t even question it. Be confident. You’re on the right track.

Gabrielle's Favorite Film and TV Music

We asked Gabrielle to share some of her favorite tracks from film and TV scores. Here are her picks:

1. "Main Title" from Game of Thrones, Ramin Djawadi B.M. ’98

I am obsessed with this show (also House of the Dragon, which I look forward to every Sunday night). This soundtrack always gets me excited!

2 & 3. "My Shot" and "Satisfied" from Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda

I'm a huge fan of the Broadway show Hamilton. I love all the songs but these two are my favorites. I only watched it on Disney+ and I absolutely fell in love with it. Wish I could see it live!

4. "Hedwig’s Theme" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, John Williams

I am a Potter-head. I rewatch the Harry Potter series every year and it always feels like the first time.

5. "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia; Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, and Terrence McNally

One of my all-time favorite movies is Anastasia, and this song just brings so much comfort when I listen to it.

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