Arlingtonian looks into new Vocal Music Director Lydia Smith-Lockwood’s life and philosophies

By Katherine Dominek, ’19

From the start, music has been ingrained into new Vocal Music Director Lydia Smith-Lockwood’s life. Practicing piano by age 3 and studying music therapy and education at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Smith-Lockwood has devoted her existence to this art form.

She has taught for over 20 years in districts across central Ohio including Springfield City and Clark-Shawnee Local Schools. In 2011, she was given the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award for Ohio.

Smith-Lockwood enjoys a wide range of musical genres, from jazz and blues to rock of the 70s and 80s, yet classical is her favorite by far.

“I grew up listening to Yo-Yo Ma in my living room with my mother, and a few years ago, I had the honor of meeting him and actually performing with him,” Smith-Lockwood said. “[He’s] someone who’s definitely impacted my life.”

Smith-Lockwood finds that being surrounded by music introduces a form of communication that ignores boundaries.

“Just being around musicians, both student musicians and world-renowned musicians, makes you realize the commonality of the language,” Smith-Lockwood said.

She sees high school as a point to explore opportunities and disregards fears that may hold people back.

“I think you cannot limit yourself in high school to what you might be good at or even just appreciate,” Smith-Lockwood said. “You don’t have to go out and perform. You don’t have to sing solos just be part of a group.”

Smith-Lockwood also hopes to increase the number of students involved in choir.

“That’s really my biggest goal for being here. There’s a misperception in this building that choir is only for students that are really talented, and that’s completely inaccurate. I want to disavow everyone of that notion. This is something that should be inclusive,” Smith-Lockwood said. “We come together and sing to produce this wonderful art form that gives people a voice. It’s really powerful.”