Teacher Feature: Mrs. Day-Javkhlan

Teacher Feature: Mrs. Day-Javkhlan

Long time Fairfax County resident and West Po graduate, orchestra teacher Mrs. Alicia Day-Javkhlan definitely knows a thing or two about this school. Called Ms. DJ by her students, she teaches here in the afternoon and Hollin Meadows in the morning, and went to both schools growing up. While she grew up here, she went to college at Cal State Long Beach since her extended family is from California. 

While Ms. DJ is now a teacher, her degree is actually in performance, not in teaching. While she was in college, she suffered an injury and lost motivation to become a musician. Searching for an alternate career path, she took on training to become an administrative assistant. She found it incredibly boring, and decided to become a music teacher, a job which clicked with her much more.

Ms. DJ had several different music teachers throughout her childhood, and values the experiences of learning from different people. She says that it’s important to learn from a variety of people because some “inspire you to be better or practice harder,” and others make you think “Oh, I’d never want to be like you because you’re a horrible teacher.”

While orchestra is a very fun subject, that doesn’t mean that it’s without its challenges. “The greatest challenge I face is not being inspiring enough for my own students…And I think that’s probably [what] a lot of teachers face: how can I inspire my students, how can I motivate my students, how can I be better so that they can be better.” 

She says that it’s important for every musician to be the best version of themself because someone who is mildly weak could bring down or ruin the entire orchestra, as opposed to a sport where a weaker player could still be carried by teammates. “We have to raise that mildly weak person, all the way up, so they’re as good as everyone else.”

Being an orchestra teacher, Ms. DJ is very well-versed on the topic of music. She plays several instruments, including the orchestra staples like the cello, violin, viola, and bass, but also others such as the flute, piano, and trombone. As for her favorite, she specializes in the cello. “I like that it can be low and solid and melancholy, but then it can be high and soloistic… it’s my favorite because it has such a wide range.”

Ms. DJ’s favorite aspect of teaching orchestra is the experience of creating music with her students. “There’s something that’s intangible about being in a group and playing something perfectly… It helps me to know that they care about what they’re doing, and they’ve listened to what I’ve been trying to teach them… and it just created this like magic, you know, moment.”