By Edith Bachmann
When you walk down the music hallway, you may notice a new face in the band room. Dr. Kinsey is our new band director at Byram Hills while Mr. Lounsbury is away. A lover of music and an expert saxophone player, Dr. Kinsey describes himself as “energetic and passionate.”
Before coming to Byram Hills, Dr. Kinsey taught saxophone and music theory at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. In 2018, he moved to New York and shortly after began teaching in the Byram Hills district during the fall of 2019. He taught music lessons to fourth and fifth-grade students, later working with Mr. Lounsbury and the band at HCC.
Like many high schoolers, he didn’t know what he wanted to do as a career when he was a teenager. Regarding his decision to pursue music education, Dr. Kinsey recalls, “I was the drum major of my high school band, which is a position that meant I would often work in a sort of assistant band director capacity, and one day my band director suggested that I major in music education. It’s funny because I was constantly doing things with music and didn’t actually realize I could make a career out of it.”
Now that he is at Byram Hills High School, he has been pleasantly surprised by the variety in music tastes of his students. Currently, in-class band students are working on Favorite Artist presentations. They get to choose a musical artist or group, find out more about the musician’s past, and share their music with the class. Dr. Kinsey remarks, “BHHS students seem to appreciate music from all time periods and genres.”
As for Dr. Kinsey himself, his musical choices are tied to the seasons. His fall playlist is made up of many songs he would listen to in high school. He says, “Fall was my favorite time of year then because, being a marching band geek, I loved going to football games and the overall festive nature of the time. So when I listen to that music it helps me to better connect with those feelings.” His holiday season playlist is full of Christmas music from the ‘50s and ‘60s. In the summer, Jimmy Buffett is his artist of choice.
Dr. Kinsey is someone who clearly loves music and teaching the discipline to others. He wants students to know, “One of my favorite teachers once told me that students don’t care about what you know, they just want to know that you care. And that REALLY stuck with me because that was the perfect articulation of how I felt about my teachers. So not to be corny, or cliche or anything, but that’s what I want my students to know. High school is a special time in life. Of course, so is college and other times as well, but the point is you never get this time back. So for those of you who take classes with me, my goal is to give you the best possible musical experience you can have.”