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Sam Beem '20 taught piano lessons to youth through an internship in South Africa.
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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Sam Beem '20

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

Majors in Anthropology & Sociology and Music

Sam taught piano lessons to youth and experienced different approaches to music through an internship in South Africa.

Sam Beem '20 taught piano lessons to youth through an internship in South Africa.

Sam used the Power of Experience Grant to fund additional expenses associated with his international internship, which came through his participation in the study abroad organization Performing Arts Abroad. The Power of Experience Grant provides all incoming Knox students with up to $2,000 to support a qualifying experiential learning opportunity. 

Tell us about your internship.

My internship was with Casterbridge Music Development Academy in White River, South Africa. The academy works with high school and college aged young people to help develop skills that will allow them to pursue a career in music. While I was working there, I was put in charge of teaching piano lessons and giving piano exams to the students. I also taught some basic music theory. 

The Power of Experience Grant helped me a great deal with this internship. I don't think this experience would have been possible without the grant. Experiential learning, and grants like this that help accommodate it, are part of what drew me to Knox in the first place. 

What is the most valuable thing you learned from the experience? 

Adaptability. South Africa has a very different work culture than what I am used to and I never really knew what I would be doing or who I would be working with on a given day. I had also never given a music lesson in my life before this experience, and that's basically all I was doing in my time there. I met a lot of people that had totally different attitudes and ways of approaching music. I think working and playing with people who are different than me made me a better musician. 

What are your plans post-Knox?

I find myself really drawn to social work and political activism so I might pursue a career in that. But even if I don't have a professional music career, music will always be a huge part of my life.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at Knox outside the classroom?

I’ve learned to keep an open mind and seek out interests. Many of the best experiences and friendships I've had at Knox have been because I tried something that I was unfamiliar with. There are also a lot of people at Knox who are incredibly different than me, whether they live in a different country or have different political opinions. These are the people at Knox who I think I learn the most from, and who I often have really meaningful relationships with.

At Knox, Sam works for the Office of Communications and is a member of the Cherry Street Combo.

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Printed on Tuesday, January 19, 2021