Teacher Feature: Zanneta Kubajak

Meet Zanneta Kubajak, a PreK-8th grade music teacher at Owen Scholastic Academy in the south side of Chicago. Her passion for music education stems from a combination of influences: the inspiring educators who shaped her own musical journey and a deep desire to give back to her community by sharing her love of music. With five years of teaching experience, Zanneta’s dedication is unquestionable. 

My musical experience while I was in school was nothing but wins and everyone that I’ve studied with literally inspired and affirmed my desire to teach music. Ms. Levy, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Knight, Dr. Owen, and Professor Jarritt just to name drop of few of my teachers who inspired me!

However, music has always been a part of Zanneta’s life and she commends her uncle, Curtis Johnson, a fellow Music Will teacher. Vivid memories of visiting his music room as a child fill her with warmth: student ensembles playing R&B and oldies, the creative energy as her uncle utilized programs like Fruity Loops and Acid Studios with his students. It was when Zanneta began teaching herself that Mr. Johnson introduced her to Music Will, a program that provides much-needed donated instruments, a resource her own school lacked.

Since teaching modern band, she shares “[the program] has connected [her students] with much more more and provided more opportunities to work together and solve problems as opposed to sitting and getting information from teachers.” These moments are especially rewarding because limited time is a constant challenge – Zanneta only gets one hour a week with her students. Yet, the modern band methods empower her students to “achieve a higher level of musicianship in a shorter timeframe.” 

One of Zanneta’s proudest moments as a teacher happened this year when she took in a student who faced many challenges. Unable to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities due to behavioral issues, the student found a haven in Zanneta’s band class. Recognizing the potential for music to make a positive difference, Zanneta addressed concerns and built trust, ultimately welcoming the student into the band.

“Since he started playing with us, he’s been focused, more intentional with how he interacts with others and has been keeping his grades up!” 

This interaction is a true testament to who Zanneta is as a teacher and community member. She shares that love is the foundational aspect of any lesson she teaches. There are certain lessons and standards to reach, but she cannot do that without coming from a place of love. 

The primary objective for me and my students is to show love and feel loved over anything else.

Zanneta recently graduated with her Master’s in Music Education at the prestigious Boston Conservatory at Berklee. When she is not studying, making music, or teaching, she loves reading fantasy books and traveling. She has proven to be a role model to her students and peers and we are so excited to see what she accomplishes in the future! 


You can check out more from Zanneta at @melaninmusicteacher. If you are a teacher and would like to learn more about our Modern Band workshops, check out our professional development calendar.

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