ATU student becomes assistant band director

Hailey Jones

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   Assistant band director Micheal Westbrook studied music at Arkansas Tech because of his love of music. His teaching also included conducting for 38 years.

   “What is my favorite thing about being a director? I would have to say working with the students and learning the music. The most difficult is listening to all my students play and helping them improve,” Westbrook said.

   According to Westbrook, music speaks to him and makes him passionate about the music. His many influences also made him passionate about music. Those influences included: Robert Kacey, former Russellville director, H.L. Shepherd, former Southside band director Stanley Cate, and his Arkansas Tech director in the 70 Gene Witherspoon,

   Before Southside, Westbrook directed at Kimmons Jr. High in 1983-1985, Van Buren Jr. High in 1985-1991, Oklahoma University for 13 years, Arkansas Tech University for one year, Conway High school for three years, Springdale High school for two years, and Westmoore High school for three years.

   “At Southside, I wish to have kids learn to love music,” Westbrook said.

   Since Westbrook’s childhood, the most enjoyable thing about music to him included the creative part and the way music allows people to express themselves. He came to campus to be a director because of the great band reputation ever since Cate directed the band. He said that SHS band students show good and eager learning skills with dedication and a good administration.

   “The difference between college and high school band is that college students are more experienced. Both college and high school students, however, are dedicated,” Westbrook said.

   Westbrook conducted the ensemble at Arkansas Tech and became a music major there. He also taught the jazz band, brass, and woodwinds. He went to Arkansas Tech for his Bachelor Degree in Arts, and Oklahoma University for his Masters Degree in Conducting. He explains how both college and high school students show dedication, hard-work, and maturity with the music given to them. Directing serves many difficult tasks but the hard work and dedication of Westbrook’s students make his job easier. Westbrook’s love of music and love of teaching makes him happy about being a band director.

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ATU student becomes assistant band director