Kevin Watson has performed with Bo Diddley and Sandi Patti. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and was a saxophone player on the Boston jazz scene.
He has taught middle school, high school and at one of North America’s top music faculties at Indiana University. Now, Dr. Kevin Watson is sharing all those experiences with Western’s students at the Don Wright Faculty of Music.
“It’s exciting to be part of a world-class faculty here,” he said. “This is one of the top faculties in Canada. I’m Canadian – I grew up in the Guelph area – and it’s good to return.”
Watson began playing saxophone in his high school band, a common starting point for musicians. He attended Queen’s for his Bachelor of Music in performance, then Berklee for jazz performance. After graduation, he played professionally for seven years.
“When I wasn’t on the road, I was an adjunct teacher for a local high school in Massachusetts. It was on outstanding program and the director taught me about teaching music. He got me excited about teaching kids.”
Watson left to do his MA in teaching at Indiana and returned to Boston to teach for four years. He also filled in as a sabbatical replacement at the Rhode Island Conservatory College, teaching jazz studies. That experience sparked his interest in teaching at another level. So he returned to Indiana for his doctorate in jazz pedagogy and teacher education.
All of which makes him a perfect fit at Western where the Faculty is known for its high quality music education and performance programs.
“I hope to offer the students here the experience from my career as a teacher and performer,” he said. “I strongly believe music teachers are artists-teachers. I have experience in areas students are interested in – private studio, performance and schools.”
Western was an attractive Faculty for several reasons. “When I came to visit, I got a sense of how warm and collegial it was, and how committed the faculty were to the success of their students,’ said Watson. “There is an exciting future here – a lot of exciting developments, and it’s exciting to part of that.”
Watson plans to participate in the broadening of the music education curriculum. “I thought this was a place I could make a positive contribution in a unique way. I am impressed by the quality of the students. Indiana has the top in the world, but I was excited by the quality here.”
Watson has also been impressed by the welcome from other faculty members. He has known Dean Betty Anne Younker for several years. “I knew her from the Big 10 education programs. She is very inspirational to be around. She’s warm and welcoming and always available to offer counsel. She is so involved and such a major figure in the profession. I’m confident she’ll lead the school in a new direction. I’m excited to be part of it.”