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ISP New Faculty: Suzanne Higgins

In the latest of the series profiling new ISP faculty for 2021-22, the spotlight is on Elementary Music Teacher and accomplished musician with Prague’s Jazz Dock Orchestra, Ms. Suzanne Higgins. Ms. Higgins had a shorter journey to ISP than most other ‘newbies’, having lived and worked in Prague for nearly 8 years as both a music teacher and professional musician. She is a prominent member of the Prague music scene and plays regularly at jazz clubs and festivals in the Czech Republic, as well as recording for TV and Radio. Before moving to Prague, Suzanne lived in Berlin for 4 years, having moved from the United Kingdom.

Ms. Higgins performs in the Landau Theatre at ISP with the Jazz Dock Orchestra

Why ISP? What influenced your decision to join the ISP Community and come to the city of Prague?

ISP has always been an attractive school for me because of its strong musical tradition, and how well respected the subject is within the community.  I am lucky to have such great colleagues in the music faculty and am looking forward to collaborating more as time goes on.  Prague has a buzzing music scene so as a musician as well as a teacher, this is a perfect place to live.

What has been your favourite learning moment from your short time at ISP so far?

When I was teaching a 5th Grade class about a piece Duke Ellington wrote, based on Shakespeare’s ‘Othello,’ I asked them to imagine and create some music which would fit together with the character of Othello.  To my amazement, one group came up with the exact rhythm that Ellington used in his piece ‘Such Sweet Thunder.’ When I played the original version to the students they were so surprised and very proud that they had the same idea as a famous Big Band composer! 

What have you learned about the city of Prague so far, what are your initial impressions?

Having lived in Prague for 8 years I continue to love the culture, beautiful buildings, fantastic restaurants and great transport system.  It is a very easy, safe city and I am looking forward to the next 8 years!

Ms. Higgins and a budding ISP musician

What are your hopes and dreams for your students and you personally this year?

My first hope and dream is to eventually remember all my students’ names; having over 250 new names and faces is slightly mind boggling! For my students, I hope they will develop their love for music which can support them when they feel sad or happy; it can really help you through good and bad times. I’d like to feel that I can inspire my students to take risks with their creativity and be open minded to music of all genres. Finally, I am hoping we can have an Elementary band starting after the winter holiday…watch this space!