Lainie Roper in front of a class of music students
Lainie Roper is graduating from BGSU with a bachelor's degree in music education and wants to inspire students' passion for music.

Class of 2022: Music education graduate hopes to follow in her former band director’s footsteps

Lainie Roper wants to inspire her students’ passion for music

By Laren Kowalczyk '07

Lainie Roper was in fifth grade when she had to decide between taking band to fill an open period in her class schedule or using that time for study hall.

Assuming she would enjoy playing instruments more, Roper chose band and to play trombone – unknowingly setting herself on a path to a future in music.

Roper, from Toledo, is graduating this fall from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education.

“It’s kind of funny to think about,” Roper said. “That one decision I made as a fifth grader ultimately led me down this path. I had no idea at the time how impactful it would be.”

During the many years in band that followed, Roper said her love of music continued to grow. Her passion deepened in high school when she met Jay Welenc, the band and studio orchestra director at Toledo School for the Arts. 

Lainie Roper playing a trombone
Lainie Roper's decision to join band in fifth grade led to her chosen career path of music education.

“I could sense that he truly loved his job and really had a passion for teaching us music,” Roper said. “He’s the reason I chose to study music education. I hope I can inspire my future students in a similar way. I want to help them discover the joy in music and develop the skills they need to play.”

Dr. Brittany Lasch, assistant professor of trombone at BGSU, said she’s confident Roper will do just that.

“Lainie is always going one step beyond what’s required,” Lasch said. “It’s those little things she does to push herself and the industry that will make her an outstanding music educator.”

Roper said the support of the College of Musical Arts faculty, including Lasch, has been integral to her success in the program.

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said. “There have been times when I felt like this was impossible. But the faculty's continued support has helped get me to this point."

Lainie Roper directing students in band
Lainie Roper directing students in band at Anthony Wayne Junior High School, where she was a student teacher during the Fall 2022 semester.

Roper spent the Fall 2022 semester student teaching junior high and high school band at Anthony Wayne Local School District in nearby Whitehouse, Ohio.

Although her time in the classroom was limited to just a few months, Roper said several memorable interactions with the students reaffirmed that she is following the right career path.

“It makes me happy to see my small impact on them,” Roper said. “Seeing their progress throughout the semester and knowing I had a hand in that is one of the best things about being a teacher. Those moments signify that I’m where I’m meant to be.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 12/13/2022 11:39AM