CWU News

CWU Music Education graduate brings commitment, time, and care to students in Oregon

Jared McFarlin plays piano at Madras High School

CWU Music Education graduate Jared McFarlin is living out his passion in his hometown of Madras, Oregon. (photos courtesy of Madras Pioneer)

Central Washington University Music Education graduate Jared McFarlin spent his childhood fascinated by music. Now, he's sharing his lifelong passion with his students at Madras High School.

McFarlin, who grew up in Madras, Oregon (about 45 miles north of Bend), said his experience as a youth musician continued to grow in high school, where he participated in band, theater, and choir. Those experiences inspired him to bring that same sense of community and belonging to other students as a teacher. He’s been teaching band for 10 years total, eight of them at Madras High.

“I saw firsthand the impact that it had on me and the positives it brought to my life, and I wanted to bring that to others," McFarlin said in an article in the Madras Pioneer. "The change I see in students from their freshman year to their senior year working with them is amazing.”

Jared McFarlinMcFarlin, who earned a master's degree in Music Education from CWU in 2019, spends most weekends at competitions for band, theater, or choir. Every afternoon after school, he rehearses for school theater productions or works with students on solos, preparing them for college scholarship auditions. As a result, he’s seen many of his former students pursue careers in music and music education.

He got so much out his experiences growing up that he wanted to pass that along to today's young people.

“That was what got me up in the morning and kept me going to school,” McFarlin said in the article. “Band, theater and choir were everything to me, and they brought me community. They were what pushed me through.”

When McFarlin isn't working with high-schoolers, he teaches lessons at a music school in Madras and is the musical director for the Madras Missionary Baptist Church. He also serves as the accompanist for OperaBend, and he travels around Oregon with youths and adults for solo and ensemble recitals and concerts.

For McFarlin, teaching is all about his students. He says his main goal is to ensure they feel supported and connected to the music.

“I want people to see that music programs are not just an extracurricular, but a large part of student success,” he said. “They give students a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and teach them valuable skills. It keeps students engaged in all aspects of school, because they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”