Director: Music is about fun
Hayden’s new music instructor is taking a well-respected program and adding even more to it, and students are noticing. The district’s traditional program has evolved into a well-rounded program that is attracting an increasing number of students, Director Tim Watt said.
The high school concert class has 19 members; the seventh- and eighth-grade band has 33 members; the sixth-grade band has 33 members; the elementary school band has 36 members; and the advanced music theory/jazz band has four members. Several of the students also participate in a 19-piece big band, a percussion ensemble or a choir.
Also, Watt is starting a guitar class that will meet for the first time tonight.
“I wish they could judge schools by more than just (standardized tests),” Watt said.
Watt said it is the options that are attracting so many students to the program, and he has even more in store for his students.
He is building a lab in the high school music room, and he has received several grants for adding computers and synthesizers for his music theory students to use in writing music. Students could use the music lab with some privacy, whereas they probably would not have any privacy in a huge room at a larger school, Watt said.
With the small student body, Watt says he can give more individual attention to his students.
“What I really like is giving a chance to kids who wouldn’t have a chance before,” Watt said. “I’ll give them as much music as they can take. They will be learning and having fun, too. (Music) is a great way to channel constructive energy.”
When Watt was teaching in Michigan a few years ago, he didn’t get to give his students nearly as much individual attention, he said. Here, he said he is having a blast.
“It’s fun because I can change these kids’ lives — for the better, hopefully,” Watt said.
Watt said the music program is so strong in Hayden that he expects to see Steamboat Springs and Soroco students to come to Hayden for its offerings.
Adam Akers plays with the concert band and will be playing guitar for the first time tonight at Watt’s guitar lessons.
“Mr. Watt has skills,” Akers said. “He really knows what he’s doing. I think it’s just his style. He makes sure we understand things before we continue.”
Still, Watt gives a lot of credit to former band director Bill Grimes, who contributed a lot to Hayden’s music program.
Watt also credits his students, who he says will have more skills than he does when they complete the jazz theory class.
Jazz band/theory students have to write a song by the end of the school year. When Watt was in school, writing a jazz piece involved writing, playing and going back to edit mistakes, then repeating the cycle. With the latest technology in synthesizers and computers, students can play their songs, immediately hear the tones and make corrections quickly.
Watt says that through technology, jazz students will advance on their own and quickly become independent songwriters.
Hayden music students have won many awards in the past few years, including five of the six students in last year’s jazz class who won soloing awards. Watt said he doesn’t care about awards — music is about fun.
“Music is a big part of all our lives,” Watt said.
— To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204
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