March 28, 2024
Gillian Desmarais

In February, Gillian Desmarais ’17 was selected as one of Yamaha’s “40 Under 40” for 2024, Yamaha's annual list honoring music educators for their outstanding work in growing and strengthening their respective music programs.

Gillian was selected for her innovative use of technology in teaching composition and lyric writing to students at Minnesota’s Harmony Learning Center, many of whom have moderate to severe disabilities. As the Learning Center’s music technology and engineering instructor, Gillian advocated for securing cutting edge electronic equipment like digital audio workstations (DAW) that has enabled her students to create their own music. This use of technology combined with Gillian’s can-do approach has helped to overcome many of the barriers faced by these students while unlocking their creative potential. 

“By creating relevant original music, students gain confidence in their abilities and find meaning in sharing their art with others. It gives them a voice and I’m grateful to be part of that journey,” commented Gillian.

Click here to read Gillian’s “40 Under 40” profile on Yamaha’s website.