A real estate agent, a certified financial planner, a violist, and a director of special events join the Elemental Music Board of Directors...

We're thrilled to welcome Cindee Hallinan*, Jeff Kim, Jeff Olsen, and Ingrid Hutman to the Board of Directors! While all four board members come from very diverse backgrounds, they share a big thing in common: they all studied music in college! We spoke to them about their experiences in music and how it has helped shape their current careers.

*unable to join us for interview

Elemental Music
: Tell us a little bit about your history with music!

  • Ingrid Hutman, violist with the LA Phil: As a fourth grader in the Pasadena public schools, I was offered the chance to play a stringed instrument and I chose the viola.  My brothers and I all played instruments and sang, and my parents also grew up in households where playing an instrument was simply a norm.

  • Jeff Kim, Certified Financial Planner: I played cello from 6th grade through college. Throughout high school, I was a member of the CSUN Youth Philharmonic and got my degrees in Music and Sports Management at UC Santa Barbara.

  • Jeff Olsen, Director of Special Events for Children's Hospital LA: I studied percussion and music industry at USC. My wife is also a percussionist, which is how we met. 


EM: Ingrid, we have to ask - were you an avid practicer? Some parents get discouraged when they have to ask their children to practice but that's often just a part of learning an instrument! It takes some students a little while to get to the point of practicing on their own.

  • IH: Like most kids, I had to be cajoled into practicing and found it a useful ploy to get out of doing the dishes!  A big motivator was playing chamber music.  Being a young musician gave me an identity.  Even though I was shy and awkward, playing the viola made me part of a group.  


EM: Jeff and Jeff, your career paths have diverged from music. Do you find that studying music has helped you in your current careers?

  • JKI played the cello but the cello played a big part in shaping me into the person I am today! Daily practice schedules translated into developing a good work ethic, playing scales and arpeggios allowed me to value attention to details, performing concertos and sonatas made me appreciate finer things in life, and being part of orchestras and chamber groups allowed me to recognize that something bigger and amazing can be created through teamwork.

  • JO: Music is all about making connections; connecting with an instrument, a piece of music, an ensemble or an audience, which is always helpful to learn. Percussion also requires a lot of logistical planning (complex instrument setups, moving equipment from one facility to another or moving instruments onstage during a performance). As an event producer that's something I feel very fortunate to have learned as a percussionist.
EM: Ingrid, you're a professional musician so it's clear how studying music has helped you in your current career - but how has music helped you in other areas of life?

  • IH: I don't think that studying music provided a practical advantage, like higher SAT scores.  Being a musician is way of seeing the world and engaging with it.  
EM: What inspired you to join our Board of Directors?

  • JK: Even if one does not become a professional musician, I know that music education can translate into real life skill sets (as explained above). With so many cuts to school arts/music programs in Los Angeles, there need to be more outlets for our youth to be exposed to music at an early age. With that said, I am honored to be asked to join the Board and look forward to help shaping the future of Elemental Music.

  • JO: When I was in high school there were threats across California of arts programs being cut or eliminated from public schools, and there was a sense that there might be nothing we could do to stop that elimination. Groups like Elemental Music are crucial to ensure the arts are still taught to kids, and I'm honored to be a part of an organization that does that.

  • IH: I joined the board of Elemental Music because I'm a product of a public school music program.  Every child in the SMMUSD has the opportunity to play an instrument and Elemental Music builds on those beginnings.  I can't imagine a better goal than to give a child the chance to see the world through the lens of music.


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