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Prof. Profile: Matthew Westgate

By Patrick clark
On August 31, 2011

Matthew Westgate is an assistant professor in the music department.  He is the director of the University's instrument activities.

  • Xavier Newswire: What did you do before you came to Xavier?
  • Matthew Westgate: I attended Western Michigan University (WMU) for my undergraduate degree in music education, and then I was a high school band director in South Haven, Mich., for four years before going back to WMU for my graduate degree in conducting. After finishing my masters, I went to the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati for my doctorate.
  • XN: Why did you decide to go back to school after being a teacher?
  • MW: I always had the thought that I might like to teach college students. After about the firstweek of working with undergraduates during my masters I knew for sure.
  • XN: What were your  responsibilities  during graduate school?
  • MW: Well, I was the only graduate conducting student so I basically had all the responsibilies of an assistant director. I worked with the marching band by writing drill and running rehearsals. I also started my own undergraduate chamber wind ensemble.
  • XN: When was your first year at Xavier?
  • MW: My first year here was actually my last year at CCM. I started out  teaching a methods class for graduate students four years ago. Then when they needed to replace the person that was here before me, I came to Xavier in an interim position for one year. They didn't hire me full-time but told me that they needed someone to run the program. I basically took over the job that I have now, in addition to being a full-time doctoral student. I must have done something right though because they ended up hiring me.
  • XN: Since you've been here have you seen any changes or  improvements in the program?
  • MW: Absolutely! Not to toot my own horn but the level of performance has been raised in all the groups; the number of people in the ensembles has increased. When I  came there were 23 people in concert band which was barely enough to play. Now, there are over 60. The pep band has a great relationship with the athletic department and the students.
  • XN: So what is  your favorite class to teach?
  • MW: I don't really have a favorite class. One of the challenges and one of  the best parts of my job is that I get to be in a bunch of a different groups. If I had to narrow it down,  Symphonic Winds would be my top priority because that's where my training is.
  • XN: What is your  favorite thing about Xavier as a whole?
  • MW: Absolutely the students! Students here seem to be a bit more concerned about the world, and I think they're interesting people. I really enjoy working with  interstesting people.

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