Teacher Feature: Jannine Livingston

Some might say music is an entity that can reach and connect people in many different ways. Music is known to flicker a spark of passion in people’s souls.  Professor Jannine Livingston is not only inspired by music, but also inspires others in her ability to teach about music.

Livingston received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University Of Southern California Thornton School Of Music and has worked on numerous projects since then. She has worked with many different music ensembles like the Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra and as a solo artist, has performed for the Palm Springs Bach Festival and the Corona del Mar Baroque Festival.

As a professor, Livingston has gained much experience as she taught at Cal State Fullerton for 26 years and has been teaching at Rio Hondo for the last 20. She teaches a variety of music classes, though her favorite is Music for Latin American Culture. “Music is so amazing it can do so much and it can reach so many people in so many ways – when I hear people touching other people [musically],” Livingston stated.

Though she enjoyed her time at a university, she expressed that Rio has given her more fulfillment. Livingston prefers working at a junior college because she feels professors have to ‘really stimulate’ their students. She explained that when she began at Rio Hondo only 7 percent of students would go on to a university and is joyful to have witnessed the percentage continually rise.

She shared an encounter she had with one of her students. After class, a student approached Livingston and told her he had been accepted into UC Berkley. She remembers him telling her that she helped motivate him and thanked her for all her help.  Many more of her students commend her not only in the way she teaches and motivates, but also her lively personality. One of her students commented that, “ I can talk to her about anything and everything, we can literally talk forever.”

Livingston has two main goals as a teacher at Rio Hondo. One is to try and give students authenticity with her teaching. She wants to be able to not sugar coat anything and really prepare students for what lies ahead.  The other is to simply turn ‘the average student onto music in general.’  Livingston sees music as an art and believes that ‘art should reflect society.’