The Ensworth Grind

Due to our special Halloween blog post yesterday, The Ensworth Grind is coming to you today. The art department at EHS added some new teachers this year, and one of those was vocal music teacher Will Hester. Here is what he had to say when I asked him some questions.

Q: Tell us about yourself! Where were you before Ensworth? What made you want to become a choral music teacher? What brought you to Ensworth?

 A: I grew up in northwest Alabama; I didn’t really think when I was a kid that I’d grow up to be a musician, but I always loved singing and playing the piano.  An amazing choral director in high school and another amazing one in college inspired me to follow in their footsteps.  I realized that singing made me really happy, and that I wanted to spend my time around singing and people who love to sing.  Being a choral director lets me do that every day — what a privilege!  After college I lived and worked in Houston, Texas; I was a choir director in middle school, high school, and church settings.  Once I had completed my master’s degree, I began to think about moving closer to family, and Ensworth was the perfect opportunity to do that.  I could tell right away when I came to visit that it was a very special place, and I’m very glad I came.

Q: What are your goals for the music program at Ensworth? What are some of the lessons that you want the students to learn, even if they are not your more serious musicians?

 A: My goal for the music program at Ensworth is to provide opportunities to sing for everyone who wants to sing.  The great thing about choirs is that there’s always a place for you.  All you have to do is want to sing, and then sign up; wherever you are on your journey, we go with you to the next level.  The great lesson of choral singing is that together we can do things that we can’t do alone.  Choirs create a depth and richness of sound beyond any soloist’s capability, and they also allow singers to experience a sense of teamwork.  I want every student at Ensworth who wants to sing to have a place to experience that collective joy.

Q: Tell us about how some of your life experience has made you a better teacher? How do you use that in the classroom?

A: When I was in elementary school, I was in a “boychoir” — meaning specifically a group of singing boys whose voices haven’t yet changed.  After my voice changed, I wasn’t singing in a school choir, so I signed up for a community choir, which had all ages in it.  I still remember that first rehearsal trying to sing with my newly-changed voice; everything felt unfamiliar and strange, and I felt like those deep bass sounds couldn’t possibly be coming from me.  I had to learn to control my voice in its new range, and do so in front of a bunch of adults; it was scary and humbling.  I’ll never forget the discomfort I felt.  So whenever I see a student struggling to find her note, or fighting to control his voice, I know that feeling, and I’m always there to give that student an extra helping hand.

Q: If you weren’t a music teacher, what would you have been and why?

A: I think I would have done something involving foreign languages, perhaps in the business world.  I completed a major in Spanish and studied in Spain during my undergraduate years, and I love to travel.  Who knows?

Q: You are new to Nashville, how are you liking the city? What have been some fun things you have been doing outside of work?

 A: I love Nashville so far; it’s a beautiful city with friendly people and an amazing music scene.  Outside of work, I’ve been catching movies at the Belcourt, exploring the restaurants all over town, and getting together with fellow Bama alums to cheer on the Crimson Tide.

Q: Who is the next faculty member for the Red Gables campus you would like to see featured?

A: Fellow Crimson Tide Erin Roberts

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