Music student finds a love for teaching

Lauren Zimmer

Seated at a table in the SAC with a giant backpack full of sheet music and a flute, Cesar Dominguez admitted band kids are weird, and he became one. Growing up, he liked soccer and tailgates but never thought about the arts. Once he was injured and couldn’t play soccer, he began to consider music a hobby.

“I went into a music shop by chance,” Dominguez said. “They only had clarinets or flutes. I didn’t want to be like Squidward, so I chose the flute.”

Dominguez, a music studies senior, moved to Houston his freshman year of high school. Soon after, he became involved with youth orchestras in Houston. 

“I became the weird kid that liked classical music,” Dominguez said.

During his time at the Houston Youth Symphony, Dominguez realized how much he connected with musicians. He made most of his friends through the symphony and, after winning several solo competitions, decided to be a musician.

Dominguez said he wanted to attend UT because he was impressed with the music professors. He said most music majors choose programs based on the students in the program, and UT’s flute program was what he wanted. When he was accepted into UT, he started to collaborate with music students in the wind ensemble. 

“UT’s program is so small, and everyone is professional,” Dominguez said. “We have to work together, but I love it. I love collaborating. It’s fun.”

Holly Roper, another flutist at UT, has played with Dominguez in ensembles and in the studio. 

“[UT students] have a special bond with each other,” Roper said. “We are always competing but always building up each other.”

Last year, music school alumna Nicole Routhier told Dominguez about a job opportunity teaching elementary school students at the Clavier-Werke School of Music. 

“I knew he would be an excellent candidate to teach because of his passion for every aspect of music,” Routhier said. “His passions for music theory, music history, conducting, performance and in-depth knowledge of scores have driven him to explore these disciplines with zeal.”

When Routhier first proposed this to him, Dominguez did not know whether he was right for the job.

“I feel like, if you can teach elementary school kids, you can teach anything,” Dominguez said. “You can’t assume anything with them and cannot not get excited about it.”

Dominguez said after feeling clueless during the first two weeks of school, he began to fall in love with teaching. He hopes music education helps change the way people think about music.

“I think the future of music is about having a love for music,” Dominguez said. “Making music with people without words teaches you how to be vulnerable. I hope kids understand music is another way to express themselves, and that it’s OK.” 

As for Dominguez’s future, he wants to be a conductor but would not be opposed to teaching.

“Music doesn’t seem like a necessity, but people still do it,” Dominguez said. “It must still be important.”