Faculty feature: Dr. Coreil, a “toot on your own horn” enthusiast


Kristine Coreil

Dr. Kristine Coreil is a Professor of Music and has been with Demon family for 25 years. She mostly plays the French horn.

Coreil is the sixth kid out of seven and is from in a small town called Jackson, Louisiana.

“My older sisters and brothers were all in the high school band,” she said. “The high school band director was a woman who played the French horn, and I must have toddled around with them when I was so little.”

She knew she wanted to play the French horn as long as she can remember.

“I think it’s because I looked up to her and her band directing skills,’’ she said.

That woman was Marie Cotaya, who was inducted into the Louisiana Music Educators Association in 1993.

“We have the LMEA Hall of Fame here, and so everybody’s picture is on the wall in the hallway by the Magale Recital Hall,” she said.

Coreil went to the Louisiana School for Math, Science and Arts and is a part of the first graduating class. It is one of the reasons she chose NSU.

“Those days we were able to take music classes at NSU,” she said. “I was already playing in NSU band and orchestra. I took horn and piano lessons from the NSU faculty, and I took music theory classes already.”

Coreil also has an English certification.

“When I was a student here, I was a […] music education [major] to a be a band director, but I also did a certification to teach English,” she said. “I’ve never used it, but maybe one day in my retirement years I could go back and teach English.”

She plays in the Shreveport Symphony along with the Rapides Symphony in Alexandria. She also plays in the South Arkansas Symphony.

“I like playing in the Shreveport Symphony,” she said. “It’s a really nice sized orchestra. I think the quality of musicians is really high for a place like Shreveport.”

She never felt pressure to play an instrument because all her siblings did.  She just knew she wanted to play.

“They all took piano lessons, and then I would just take their piano books and figure it out on my own,” she said It was never a point of ‘I feel pressurized to do this.’ It was more like ‘I can’t wait to do this.’”

Music was a central part of her childhood. She can play the piano, the organ and horn.

“In the horn world my favorite lesson to teach is about how to use the air,” she said. “It’s always a really important lesson that we just hammer in a lot about how to use the air, how to breathe well and how to blow out well.”

A stereotype of music majors is that they already know everything about their instrument. Coreil debunked that stereotype and explained that students who major in music usually realize that they have a lot more to learn.

“Very rarely will we get a freshman who has that attitude,” she said. “Usually they are totally sold, and they want to know more about music. They want to learn a better technique.”

Coreil compares teaching this instrument to an athletic event.

“You have to use muscles,” she said. “On the horn, we have to have flexibility. We have to have stamina.  We have to have endurance. speed. We have to play really fast notes. There are all sorts of hand-eye coordination. Well that’s mostly finger-tongue coordination. We have muscles we have to work out.”

Her students are always ready to go to the next level.

The music department has 18 French horn majors, and she teaches one on one.

“I take them where they are,” she said. “If one student is here and wants to go there, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to teach that same lesson to this student who’s over here. This student might just learn their scales, and this one knows all their scales. They might be learning some faster techniques. So, you have to take it one on one,” she said.

She hopes her students get the joy of playing music from her lessons.

“A big notion for me is I want it to be fun,” she said. “It’s not just fun. Sometimes it’s hard work, but the hard work allows us to have fun on the horn.”