Christine Martin’s Commitment to Colburn: Two Decades of Early Childhood Leadership

Christine Martin

Christine Martin’s retirement leaves behind two decades of dedicated and visionary leadership of the Early Childhood Music Program.

After over 20 years spent in her post as the Early Childhood Department Chair at the Community School of Performing Arts, Christine Martin is retiring, leaving behind a shining legacy. With her dedication to faculty, commitment to students and parents, and development of brand-new curriculum for our youngest students, Christine’s retirement spurs us to highlight and celebrate her achievements for the Community School and Colburn.

Christine’s Passion for Music Education and Teaching

Christine has always demonstrated a passion for teaching and education. She has a lifetime Standard California Teaching Credential and taught with Los Angeles Unified School District for over 30 years. She also used her State Bilingual Certificate of Competency in Spanish to connect with our diverse constituencies. Along with her professional experience, she received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Brentwood, California where she studied with Paul Salamunovich.

She serves as a Music & Movement Clinician and is a Lifetime Member of the Dalcroze Society of America. She has a Level I Orff-Schulwerk Certification, sings in performance with the Loyola Marymount University Concert Choir, and is a Church pianist in her parish.

Christine’s Colburn Journey

When you come into a position, you want to leave it in a better place than when you arrived. Christine can feel confident in her leadership and that her expertise has taken our Early Childhood department to a new level. She should be very proud of that. Jacqueline Paquette, Early Childhood Faculty member

With her educational background, professional experience, and clear passion for music education, Christine found a new home at Colburn in September of 2000. She joined the faculty during an incredible time of growth and change, with the school making the move to the Grand Avenue location just a year earlier.

Christine’s Leadership of the Early Childhood Program

Christine’s leadership inspired a new era of the Early Childhood Music Program. She spearheaded efforts to integrate the parents into the core of the Early Childhood Music Program and made them a key aspect of the program. Twenty years later, parents still remember Christine’s care and inclusion of them.

In addition to her efforts with parents, she dedicated herself to developing and mentoring faculty members. Longtime Early Childhood faculty member Jacqueline Paquette described Christine’s open-door policy for faculty members and her welcoming spirit: “I remember going to her office and knocking on her door, knowing full well that she is in the middle of something but she is always so gracious…I would call them ‘shared conversations.’”

A New Era of Early Childhood Programs at Colburn

After nearly 10 years at Colburn, Christine saw the need to expand the program to students younger than two years old. With encouragement from the previous dean, Robert McAllister, Christine pursued her Master’s in Music Education from Boston University. After graduating, Christine used her newly formed thesis to create a curriculum and sequence of classes for students ages seven months to two years old. These new classes enabled students to build the foundation for music and lifelong learning even before they could walk!

Christine’s Impact on Students and Families

Christine’s care and inclusion of parents, dedication to the faculty, and expansion of the Early Childhood Program created a supportive and productive environment, the perfect place for students to begin their journey at Colburn. As we look back at the last 20 years, Christine imprinted the love of music and performing arts on the thousands of students that went through the Early Childhood Program.

Chun family holding string instruments
Ms. Martin was instrumental in creating positive impressions about music that will last a lifetime. She is absolutely the best educator—not only in music but also in Early Childhood education. If anyone were to peek into her classroom, they would see kind, warm, and sensitive teaching that truly raises awareness in children about their many senses, inner self, and their surroundings through the teaching and making of music. We can also truly thank her for guidance not only in the musical path, but also in the parenting journey. Kasey Chun, parent of four graduates of the Early Childhood Program (pictured)
Ms. Martin embodies early musicianship at Colburn—inclusive and welcoming—those first moments of musical engagement have touched our hearts and left strong musical imprints. We cannot thank her enough for the impact she has made! Pia Radisich, parent of Nova Radisich
Christine Martin sitting with two toddlers
Ms. Martin understands how to teach these young musician minds and connects with them dearly. I'm so proud to say that Rohan and Rani had a great first music teacher at such a prestigious music school! I am so grateful for the unique experience, especially as a mom, to have my kids so young and to be stimulated with rhythm, direction, and melody instructed by Ms. Martin. Joann Misa, parent of Rohan and Rani (right), a current Early Childhood family

Saying Goodbye to Christine

With Christine retiring, Colburn is not only losing a dedicated and talented faculty member, we are saying goodbye to a dear friend and colleague. We gave students and parents a chance to tell Christine Martin goodbye and share their final thoughts:

Ms. Martin, thank you for teaching me to march to the beat of my OWN drum! Nova Radisich, age 11
Ms. Martin, I still remember you trying to find a nicely tuned piano for me. I have learned so much from you not only as a music teacher, but as a parent. I wish when I was a kid there was this Early Childhood Program! You are my children's first formal instructor, and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for always being there in class, in person and virtual. You have dedicated so much to these kids! Joanna Misa, parent of two graduates of the Early Childhood program
Omeed Almassi
Ms. Martin, it has been a true pleasure knowing you throughout the years. As a mom, I always enjoyed your classes and loved the joyful environment you created for our kiddos. I really do miss those sweet days. I will always hold dear our fond memories with you…Oh, where did the time go? Oh, where did the time go? It’s been delightful. May you laugh and sing your life full. Niloufar Esfandiari-Carnegie, parent of Omeed Almassi (pictured)

Faculty member Jacqueline Paquette articulated this bittersweet moment:

“I am going to miss everything, to put it in one word! Her presence. Her smile and laughter. Her words of wisdom. Her creative solutions that she would come up with. [Christine was] always so positive. She brought a broad perspective, musically, as a professional musician as well as an educator. I consider it such an honor and privilege to have the time as colleagues through the years. I am sure there’s still more to come!

Christine Martin’s legacy is clear. She taught thousands of students to love and appreciate the performing arts and set them up for a life filled with music. Her dedication to faculty and families shone through. Her passion for teaching and love for the Colburn community will be dearly missed. We thank you Christine!”

Special Retirement Celebration

We invite those who want to celebrate with Christine and say goodbye in person to Colburn for a special event on July 31 at 4 pm in Zipper Hall. Tickets are free, but required, so RSVP today!

Continue Christine’s Legacy

In honor of Christine’s impact on the Early Childhood Program at Colburn, we have set up a special fund for students, parents, and supporters to continue the work that Christine pursued. Donate today!