In this episode, Nick Averwater talks with Kim Webb, Director of Bands at Greene County Tech High School in Paragould, Arkansas. The band program in the school district has 450 students participating in seven different bands. We've broken up our conversation with Kim into two episodes, and in this first one, she talks about how she became interested in pursuing music education as a career, and how she attempts to strike a healthy balance between family life and band director life.
Seeing the high school marching band perform at a football game as a child inspired Kim to join the band when she was old enough. Although Kim was never first chair, she loved band and worked really hard. After researching a few different colleges, Kim chose Arkansas State University to pursue her degree in Music Education. She was influenced by several music educators during her time at A-State. Kim emphasized the importance of having a role model as a young director. There was never really a major "a-ha" moment when Kim decided to become a band director. She simply knew that she loved teaching and education and she loved music, so she decided to become a band director.
One of the best pieces of advice Kim offered is this: "When you're at work, be 100% at work. When you're at home, be 100% at home." When the kids are sick or need you, it can be really difficult to focus on the tasks at hand at work. But she stays focused and then makes the most of that time at home that she has with her kids. The first time, she really didn't feel like she knew what she was doing, but feels more prepared with the second child on the way.
Be sure to set boundaries with the parents in your band program about communication and responding to emails. Protect the time that you have at home with your family and make the most of it. The emails will still be there in the morning.
When Kim and her husband first started trying to have children, they experienced some challenges. After she had a miscarriage, it really affected her at work. She had to make her mental health a priority during that time. There are restrictions that having a family can put on you as a director. You can overcome the challenges, but it is very difficult. You have to make accommodations to ensure that your own health and the baby's health are a priority while still running a successful band program.
As her kids get older, she wants to make sure that they attend band events and are involved with her day-to-day life as a music educator. These memories will be treasured for the rest of their lives. It's important to rely on a community of support around you and not to try and do it by yourself.
Kim is Director of Bands at Greene County Tech School District in Paragould, AR. The GCT Band serves 450 students in the GCTSD as one of the largest organizations on campus. The Eagle band is made up of several ensembles: Marching Eagle Band, High School Concert Band, Jazz Band, Junior High Pep Band, Junior High Concert Band, Intermediate Concert Band, and Beginning Band. Members are offered multiple performance opportunities throughout the year including Football Games, Marching competitions, indoor stage concerts, and concert assessments in performance and sight-reading. Members in GCT Bands are offered various ways to achieve individually in the region and state bands and solo/ensemble competitions. The Marching Eagle band has received numerous first division trophies and currently reigns as the Grand Champion of the Cabot Marching Invitational for the second year in a row. Their concert bands have received consistent Superior Ratings in Concert Performance and Sight-Reading.
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