New Teacher Spotlight: Meredith Kohut


(Photo via Meredith Kohut)

David Vu

Meredith Kohut is the new director of the Intermezzo, Concert, Vivace, and Symphony Orchestras at Centreville High School. This is her first year at Centreville High School, but she has taught at both Hughes Middle School and Dogwood Elementary School for five years as an itinerant strings music teacher. It is her tenth year teaching. She was born and raised in Long Island, New York. For her college education, she went to James Madison University and majored in music education. During her time in college, she participated in a student teaching program here in Fairfax County. Now, she is married to a band teacher and is raising her two-year old son.

When she was asked what got her interested in teaching orchestra, she stated that her interest was sparked mainly by her private viola teacher she used to have. Her viola teacher, Charlie Kinder, would always inspire and motivate his students into learning and playing music, which resonated with her throughout her life. She mentions that Charlie Kinder is one of two of her inspirations in her life. The other inspiration in her life is her husband, who juggles between being  in the 257 Army Band and a band teacher to a couple of schools. 

When asked about the reason for coming to Centreville High School, she responded to me that “for the longest time, I didn’t want to teach high school students, but after teaching the middle schoolers, I wanted to have a little bit more of a challenge for myself and teach more mature orchestra students.” While she stated she hasn’t faced much difficulty at Centreville yet, she did mention that it is harder to read the high schoolers’ mannerisms than the middle schoolers’. 

She stated that her teaching style is very structured and organized, having a “start to finish” end goal in mind for every class. She enjoys having a planned rehearsal for all of her orchestras with some high expectations for her students to play at their best of their abilities. 

Her favorite thing about teaching music is building relationships between the members of her orchestras. She always enjoys forming close bonds with all of her students and creating a sort of “familial bond” throughout her ensemble orchestras. This passion of forming long-lasting friendships also goes along with her relationship with her other orchestra teach, Dr. Mark Taylor. She thinks he is a really supportive teammate and he really helps her transition in teaching high school easier.

In addition to all these questions about her job, I also asked her fun and personal questions about herself. She mentions that her interests and passions are fitness/nutrition, sleeping, and spending quality time with her family. Her biggest pet peeve is having a messy or disorganized work area (she hates messes). When asked about her favorite pieces of orchestra music, she says that she loves Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2, Mahler’s Symphony No.5, and Liszt’s Un Sospiro. Her favorite kind of musicians are any person or band in alternative music, such as Guster, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Wheezer. 

My final question I asked her was if she was excited or nervous about her first concert here. She answered that for the moment, she feels neutral about it, not really worrying about it for the time being. However, when the concert does come up closer and closer, she will feel a little bit anxious about it. Ultimately, she is looking forward to her first concert as both a high school teacher and a teacher at Centreville.

I may not have her as a teacher, but I can tell from interviewing her that she is a brilliant and passionate teacher with an utter devotion for teaching orchestra music. The music department and the school are incredibly happy and excited to welcome her to the CVHS family!