Elisa Fraser Wilson
Associate Professor, Master of Music With a Concentration in Conducting
Elisa Wilson has taught at UTEP for 23 years. Originally from Illinois, she moved here in 1998 with her husband, Steve Wilson, who was hired as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Trombone. She started as an adjunct faculty member teaching voice, aural skills and jazz choir, then continued as a full-time lecturer managing the interdisciplinary BFA in Music Theatre, and finally as a tenure-track and tenured professor directing first the opera workshop and now, the choral program.
Dr. Elisa Wilson's husband is now the chair of the Department of Music, and she herself is an Associate Professor of Music. Prior to moving to El Paso, she was a choir director at Central High School in Champaign, IL. During the course of her education and career, she has had the opportunity to sing a wide variety of styles, including jazz, musical theater, choral, and opera, and to teach every kind of choir: children’s, jazz, show choir, and traditional choirs of every size.
She says, "UTEP has given me the opportunity to continue pursuing an eclectic creative and teaching agenda, and I love teaching here!"
The subjects she teaches:
I direct the Concert Chorale and Chamber Singers, undergraduate and graduate choral conducting (in class and individual settings), choral literature, and special topics in conducting, score study, and rehearsal techniques. I also direct the UTEP Children’s Choir, and mentor its volunteer UTEP student coaches who plan to become music teachers as a pre-student teaching intern experience (you can see our current asynchronous work on YouTube on the UTEP Choirs channel).
On her passion for these subjects:
As a child, I was fortunate enough to sing in two wonderful children’s choirs at church and in the community. These provided me a love for the genre and the repertoire. Additionally, my high school choral director inspired me to continue singing in choirs at the collegiate level. However, it was my undergraduate and choral director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Chester Alwes, who truly sparked my passion for conducting choral music and inspired me to follow my heart as a collegiate choral conductor and teacher.
Her proudest accomplishment and biggest challenge as an online instructor:
My proudest accomplishment as an online instructor has been guiding effective student dialogue through the discussion boards in my choral literature class. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my students develop more effective ways to talk and write about the music they listen to each week, and I genuinely look forward to interacting with them in this forum each week.
My biggest challenge has been interacting with technology. I excel in the classroom face-to-face, especially in choral rehearsals, and it has been daunting to move my interpersonal skills and course content into the virtual world.
On what makes a successful online student:
A successful online student is organized, self-motivated, and seeks help when needed. Students who have difficulty managing their time without the structure of the traditional face-to-face class schedule, and who have a hard time reaching out may struggle in the online realm.
Her advice to her students:
Ask for help when you need it. In my experience, teachers want students to succeed, and will do their best to provide the guidance and resources they need to achieve their goals.