A high note has been reached for Granger Junior High School music teacher Brett McCarty, named one of the six Sweetwater District Teachers of the Year.
As an educator for ten years, McCarty has spent the past seven at Granger Junior High as a Band, Concert, Jazz Guitar and Music Technology teacher. Under his direction, McCarty’s students can see that the music tools he provides improve their playing: discipline, attention to detail, patience, confidence, and teamwork. “They aren’t just tools that make us better musicians, says McCarty. “They make us better people.”
Each day McCarty believes he is teaching a foreign language. One that needs to be deciphered, translated, read and spoken. Each connection to another discipline is a piece of the puzzle that lets his students understand the context of what they are learning and why it is important for them to know.
At a very early age McCarty knew he wanted to do something music related as a career. He enjoys helping people find something that inspires them to think outside of what they are used to, and for him it was music.
“I can’t understate the importance of a complete education that includes music as part of a student’s daily learning,” says McCarty. “I’ve spent my whole life studying music, and every day of the last ten years doing what I can to instill that love and passion for music in every student that walks through my door.”
A bit different for a band room, a large map can be found in McCarty’s classroom. McCarty says it is just one small glimpse to one of his main focuses as an educator. A window into the rest of his students day, and a way that he can help them see other subjects through the lens of music.
With band, McCarty has the unique opportunity to be the bridge that connects a student to every aspect of what they are learning in their day. “I tell my students daily that music is everything,” says McCarty. “Music is math, it is a language, science, history, art, and even physical education. Through music and that map on my wall, I connect the students to the history and context behind a piece. I incorporate the physics of sound.”
According to McCarty, Music is such a giant part of most people’s day, but they very rarely slow down to really think about what an impact it has. “Getting people to find a way to express themselves through music has always been a really rewarding pursuit for me,” says McCarty. “Another thing I love about being an educator is that every day is wildly different. New challenges are constantly presenting themselves, and you have to be on your game to meet them all. I joke that I wouldn’t do well in a cubicle stuck in an office…the classroom can be a jungle, but it’s never boring.
McCarty believes teachers can’t ever be satisfied with where they are as educators. He believes every educator has ways to improve and encourages new teachers to know their growth is a process.