Posted: April 26, 2017 at 7:46 pm

By Jay Rudolph, Tyler Geyer and Elizabeth Haines
James Froemel, a counselor for the Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University, strives to teach his students how to succeed in their studies and in life.
He believes that the Creative Arts School offers the opportunity for artist to learn on multiple levels.
“When students come into a program with this kind of intensity, it prepares them for the real world,” Froemel said. “No matter what they are studying the preparation, work ethic and discipline put into the program prepares students for the rest of their lives.”

James himself is a graduate from the Creative Arts program and is a prime example of how the program teaches on multiple levels. Despite graduating with a theater degree, the program prepared him to pursue other options and become a counselor. The intensity of the program teaches students how to persevere and continue their studies.
Travis Stimeling, an assistant professor of music history and director of the WVU Bluegrass Band. Stimeling ecently was recognized by the BBC, for his documentary called “Rich Hal’s Countrier Than You,” which aired March 17th.
“I was ecstatic to hear that Rich had read my book and I thought contributing to this project was a great way to share my research,” said Stimeling.
Teaching students perseverance is one of the most important things that a professor or counselor can pass on to a student. A lot of the professors themselves have had to beat the odds and overcome large obstacles to get to where they are today. Being a professor in the music industry is not something that is easy to come by, and pushing students every day to follow their dreams is just as difficult. Parents are constantly nagging their kids and teachers about the future and what it holds. However, all you can do is work hard enough that your work speaks for itself.
“While writing my book there were a lot of nights that I just wanted to give up and go home, but my wife always talked me out of it,” he said. “There was one night in Houston where the guy I was interviewing just wouldn’t talk. He was quiet and closed minded about telling me his story. It wasn’t until my wife talked to him that he finally felt comfortable enough to share it with me.”

He often would talk about these restless nights of listening to song after song trying to understand what story the artist was trying to tell. Sometimes he just couldn’t get it. When his students come to a bump in the road being patient and maintaining your focus are very important. You have to look at the bigger picture at the end of the road before making rash decisions.
Organization is extremely important when developing goals. When Travis comes across an extremely organized student he knows that the odds have turned slightly in their favor. Artists live chaotic lives full of traveling and performing, which makes it harder for them to keep track of everything that’s going on. Having structure is good when you have goals to accomplish. Travis explained that the students who are organized are the students that most likely have developed goals.
The last important key to teaching students to develop goals is to stay motivated. Going into specialized career fields with low success rates often cause students to lose motivation and sight of what they are trying to accomplish. “One of the best things about being a teacher is getting to motivate the students to push themselves to be the best they can be,” said Stimeling.
Each and every day, students show him their work and he is required to give constructive criticism, without breaking the student’s moral. Stimeling explained that by approaching students with a calm and collective voice it is easier to talk to the student about what small changes they could possibly make. Even sometimes it can be as easy as being speechless by how amazing their work was. He went even further to say that this is when the job of being a professor is most rewarding, when professors can see the progress the students have made.
“The community is very tight knit, students see and work with same students constantly and they become a family” said Froemel.
He believes and strives to create a community of students that want to motivate each other to succeed. James explained that he wants to create an environment similar to what he had at WVU because of his success. When going further into detail he explained that the motivation given to the students is almost organic because of the family that they have become.