If there is such a thing as a typical 26-year-old, Patricia Garrett probably isn’t it.
Garrett is in her first year as Northwest Elementary School’s music teacher, and she brings more than the prerequisite musical expertise to the job: a background that includes travel abroad, culture, foreign language — several, actually — and a graduate degree in museum studies.
She said her strongest foreign language is Spanish, and she can “get around” in Portuguese and Dutch, and even knows some Chinese.
Music is in her family. Her father is a pianist and former music teacher, and her husband of 10 months, Monte, is the director of chorale activities at Howard Payne University.
Garrett is a pianist, guitarist, vocalist and composer, and she has done some work with the violin.
About 350 students come to her room in the course of a typical day — one group at a time, for 25-minute sessions. Her classes are a mixture of discipline (“play - rest - rest - rest,” she calls out as she teaches the intricacies of reading music) and energy as she leads students through song and motion.
Garrett was born in England to Nicholas and Ann Filippini, international educators who met and married in Belgium. She had a British accent when she first came to the United States at age 4, and while there is no hint of it now, she said the accent has returned when she has gone back to England to visit.
Her family settled in Deer Park, and she attended Baylor University, where she earned degrees in music and museum science.
As a college student, she visited several countries in Central and South America and Europe.
Garrett first began working at Northwest Elementary in January as a teacher’s aide, and learned in May she was being offered the job as the school’s music teacher.
“I like it a lot,” Garrett said of her job. “It’s very challenging, very rewarding.”
She said she hopes to impart a “lifelong love of music” to her students and hopes they will go on to have music as a part of their lives. Music, Garrett said, “is a special way to impact lives.”
“More than the subjects — they want me,” Garrett said of her students. “They want us. They want to know someone cares.”