Ms Espeland teachingHow many years have you been at MPA?
I started in the fall of 1989, so I have been here 27 years.

What do you love about MPA?
I love that the students and I get to sing, dance, play instruments, improvise, and create every other school day for 35 minutes. The students get to “dig into” learning musical skills and expressing their creative ideas. Music is considered a real subject matter, not just an extra. And, I dearly love watching the students grow from PreK and kindergarten children to accomplished young men and women.

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
Learning music at MPA goes beyond the basic skills of music education. Even the youngest children are asked to “show me your idea,” “sing to me about your favorite color,” or “make-up a pattern.” The children learn that their input and their ideas are important. They learn that they can create ways to express themselves. They learn that when working together with their classmates or the entire Lower School, we can create big beautiful music and dance. Performing in ensemble is like no other experience in the world. MPA students have internalized the amazing feeling of truly working together by the time they complete their kindergarten year.

What would you tell a parent considering MPA?
In addition to teaching at MPA, I am a parent of an alum (an MPA lifer) and a current Upper School student. My faculty colleagues are passionate, accomplished educators. MPA’s small class sizes allow these amazing teachers to know my sons’ strengths and challenges, working side by side with them to reach their true potential.

In what ways are you preparing students for life in the 21st century?
Who can imagine what our PreK students will do for their jobs when they are grown-ups? We have no way to know, but we do know that they will need to creatively solve problems, communicate clearly, and work well with others. MPA students learn and practice those skills daily at all grade levels of music instruction.

What do you hope for MPA students in 20 years?
I hope that MPA students continue to learn, create, and express throughout their lives. I know that most students I teach will not major in music in college; however, I want them to be able to sing a baby to sleep, dance at a wedding, and make music part of their everyday lives. I want them to be able to recognize beauty in their lives and create beauty in their lives.

Mounds Park Academy, a PreK-12 private school in Saint Paul, is currently accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. For more information about admission and to schedule your tour, visit We look forward to getting to know your family!

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