Arts and Entertainment Editor
Keene State College welcomes two new professors to its music department this semester. One is Assistant Professor of Music of Dr. John T. Hart Jr. who is the Concert Band Director, Coordinator of Instrumental Music Education, and Coordinator of Brass studies and more. The other addition to the music department is Professor Nick Harker. Harker mentioned that he teaches orchestra, violin lessons, theory, and conducting here at KSC.
Harker also mentioned classes he had taught at other schools, and previous experiences with teaching. . “Orchestra at the collegiate level for 5 years now. I’ve previously taught Aural Skills, Violin Lessons, and I’ve run clinics at a number of middle and high schools,” Harker said. “A very rewarding teaching experience that I had [was] when I was in high school. I wasn’t originally planning on choosing music as a career. It was more of a hobby at the time. During my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to teach a fellow violinist in our orchestra who was struggling. By the end of the school year she was able to play at a much higher level than before. Seeing the joy and excitement in her newfound abilities was an extremely rewarding experience for me, and I changed my mind right then and there.”
Hart also has a rich history of music. “I have been teaching music since 2002. I’ve taught music as a private lesson instructor; at Head Start programs; at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in my home state of Connecticut; and most recently I was an adjunct professor of instrumental music education and conducting at the Hartt School in West Hartford, Connecticut,” Hart said.“We (humans) have a special event or sensation in our past that drew us to something artistic in such a powerful way that we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to that feeling. Being a music teacher, and music teacher educator, I’m fortunate in that I get to do that every single day, and help the future music teachers of the world do the same.” Hart added that he wants to add to the KSC music program. “Well, the Keene State College music and music education curricula are already pretty great, (…) My goals for the coming years (…) include making Keene State College a haven for the performance and creation of new music, particularly by composers of traditionally marginalized populations, like women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. These are people from whom society and the music profession have actively denied the means of production of culture, and it’s my mission to provide a platform for these marginalized voices in music,” Hart said.
Hart also delved into his musical background. “[I am ] an accomplished euphonium player and trombonist. I also play the tuba and the other brass instruments, though euphonium is my primary. Since I studied instrumental music education in my undergraduate degree program, I learned how to play just about every instrument, at least well enough to teach it at the elementary and secondary level,” Hart said.
Harker expressed his excitement for the string program in particular. Harker said, “I am extremely optimistic with the potential that I see in these students already. We are working very hard to put our exceptional string program on the map. Our string faculty are all very talented and qualified, and the world needs to know. We hope to bring in many new string players over the upcoming years.”
One of Hart’s students, junior music major Mike Perry, said, “ Dr. Hart has been a great professor and mentor in the short time he has been here. I have only had two conducting [level one] classes with him thus far, but have already liked what I’ve seen. He has a ‘fresh’ way of teaching and isn’t stuck in old ways of other professors. He communicates well to the student body and has shown to be one of his many strengths. Dr. Hart not only communicates but connects well with his students and has already earned respect from many students/faculty.”
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