Keith Hart: Living and Giving in the Key of Life
Edwin Buggage | 3/7/2017, 6:06 p.m.
There is an old adage that states ‘music is a universal language.’ In the case of Music Educator Keith Hart, it is a bridge that connects young people to overcoming obstacles and achieving their dreams, hopes and aspirations. “It started with middle school in seventh grade where I was privileged to have great teachers. Mr. Jones in middle school and Mr. Harris in high school; these were transformative teachers who taught music that had ways of engaging your morality and helping you make good choices. I was inspired by them and I now take those lessons and pass them onto the students I teach,” remarks Hart, who has been in the classroom for two decades speaking of these early influences that inspired him in what has become his life’s work of teaching young people.
There are many qualities Hart says that can make young people successful, but the one he feels is most essential is developing good habits, something he feels that would cause them to make better choices as they navigate their way through life. Speaking of this recipe for success, he remarks, “I impart on my students that habits defines your choices and these ideas of excellence and virtues become the integrity and perseverance that will define your destiny.”
He is dedicated to community uplift and feels that building a strong character is an important quality to possess and also respecting one’s elders, something that’s helped shape his value system. It is something he carries with him as he helps in shaping the minds of the next generation, “When I speak about being a success I am not simply talking about going to college or getting money. I am talking about obtaining the virtues that make you human. When I think about my life and its meaning and what defines it, my value doesn’t come from money, it comes from the love of my family and my community. It comes from someone believing in you. Those who see what others could not see and encourage you in your journey through life. This is an unbreakable bond I have of loving my community and appreciating how it’s fed my soul. For that reason, I am indebted to do for others what so many have done for me to become the person I am today.”
In his two decades of teaching he’s been instrumental in helping change the lives of many young people. He says what gives him the most joy is when he sees the ‘aha’ moment when the light bulb comes on and the young people get the concepts he is teaching them.” Continuing he says, “I love to see when a kid goes from saying ‘I can’t to saying and believing I can do anything’ this is the most rewarding part of the work I do as a teacher.”
He says one of the things that are key to student success is helping in building their confidence. Speaking specifically about one of his many success stories he says, “Jerome had a problem with stuttering and verbally communicating with people, so much so that it would cause him to blow up and it would cause him to have bad relationships with teachers and other people. His parents had given up and I put him in a leadership position. I also told him when he feels stressed out when he experienced difficulties in reading to calm him down and dig into each word and he did it with reading and with music. He eventually became the band captain. This to me is one of many proud moments I feel when I see kids overcome obstacles and reach their full potential.”