Andrea Imhoff is a lively professor and musician. She grew up in Australia before coming to America for her graduate program, which gradually led her to Texas A&M. She has been here ever since.
Imhoff described her dream of being a musician as not something she chose, but something that music chose for her. At the age of four, she asked for piano lessons for her birthday. When no one would teach her because she was too young, she asked again a year later.
"I just assumed at four years old knew what they wanted to do," Imhoff said. "Mum took me to a teacher and the teacher said, 'no, she's too young, and her hands are too small. She'll never make it. So my fifth birthday rolled around and I said, 'I want piano lessons.' I didn't want to do any other instrument. My hands grew and everything was fine."
After getting her bachelors in Australia at the University of Adelaide, Imhoff was offered full funding to do graduate work at the University of Illinois.
"I had no idea what that meant," Imhoff said. "We don't do that in Australia. But I said okay. That's how I came to America. A few years later I moved down this way and I've been here ever since."
Imhoff is teaching three courses this semester: an entry level music course, music and the human experience and collaborative musicianship. What was interesting, she said, was that she had not taught music and the human experience, course number music 201, for about 14 years before returning to it in the fall of 2017.
"There was no one available to teach it and I was asked to do it," Imhoff said. "It was daunting, stepping back into the classroom. Last time I did it, we didn't have powerpoints. We had overhead projectors."
But Imhoff is not just a professor at A&M. Aside from teaching, she does collaborative piano work with other musicians, primarily vocalists and classical guitarists. She said pairing with a classical guitar is unusual because the piano generally overpowers the guitar in volume, but she enjoys the work.
"I never have been [a soloist]," Imhoff said. "I learned it young. I just knew, when I'm collaborating and exchanging ideas, that's my goal."
James Grant, general engineering sophomore, is taking music 201 with Imhoff this semester. Grant had played various instruments before taking her class, including the trumpet, piano and guitar. He initially took the class as an international and cultural diversity requirement, but has since enjoyed the class quite a bit.
"It's one of my favorites," Grant said. "She's clearly very passionate about what she does, and that's great. Her presentations are easy to understand, and generally her quizzes and exams are exactly what she advertises."
Erica Hausmann, communication junior, took music 201 with Imhoff in the fall of 2017, her first semester at A&M. She, like Grant, had previous musical experience and had studied it for about 10 years prior to taking the class.
"[The class is] about something I like a lot, so it made it pretty enjoyable to study,” Hausmann said. “She gave us actual examples and let us hear pieces. She made it more interesting than a typical lecture. She knows what she's talking about."