Marshall Alumni: Where are we now? Scott Nibert

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Courtesy Scott Nibert

Marshall University graduate. Marshall University graduate.

College is often a place for students to find what they are truly passionate about and that is exactly what happened during Scott Nibert’s years as a student. 

Nibert, now an elementary music teacher at Winfield Elementary, started college with aspirations of becoming a high school band director one day. 

“My certification is K12 music education. I kind of went in with the hopes of being a high school or middle school band director, but our degree would entail we teach choir, band, general music, all of that.”

Nibert found a love of performing music and soon added a dual degree. 

“I did a dual degree in music education and clarinet performance,” said Nibert. “I didn’t realize I loved performing until I got to Marshall and saw all of the opportunities for ensemble and performance solo. It really helped me gain my passion for performing.”

Performing was not the only thing Nibert discovered he loved at Marshall. He also found his passion for teaching elementary students. 

“I wanted to be a high school band director. I think it was my semester that I student taught, I really fell in love with elementary music and general music teaching in the elementary levels,” said Nibert. “They can be fun, they can be a handful, but I love it.”

With the constant changes being seen in the teaching industry, Nibert said he still feels comfortable with his career choice. 

“I think with kind of how education is going in America, there doesn’t seem to be a big supply if music teachers. So, I think anywhere I look, and I’m willing to move if I need to get the job that I want, so I’m not too worried about being out of a job,” said Nibert. “Now if I were to go into performance, where it’s a whole lot more competitive to get a job, I think that’s more of a worry, which is why I’m glad I got an education degree as well.”

Nibert said music has always been a vital part of his life and it is important for students to get that education. 

“There’s so many studies out there that talk about the cognitive developments especially at a young age,” he said. “Music has so many other subject areas math, science, even English. I mean, a lot of cognitive development comes with good music programs.”

Along with the developmental benefits of music, Nibert says it is an escape for many, himself included and that more of a focus on music and arts should be in schools. 

“As well as the cogitative development in kids, it’s an outlet for so many to express themselves. I mean, I couldn’t tell you what I had second block my junior year, but I can tell you what we were doing in band every year, every semester,” Nibert said. “With art and theater, it’s such an outlet for kids to really have the ability to get up and go to school in the morning, I would say. Because they’re looking forward to that theater class, they’re looking forward to band, choir.”

While Nibert did not know the scientific correlation with the outlet music and art gives students he said it can be beneficial to a student’s mental health like it is to many adults, himself included.

“I can speak from my past experiences, it really helped me out through a lot of things from a young age, even to this day,” he said. “I mean, I have certain songs I listen to if I’m feeling anxious or worried about anything and I know it can help a lot of people deal with mental stress.”

Nibert realizes the importance of music and is working hard to adapt his lesson plans to benefit his students during the time of coronavirus. 

“We can’t do much in terms of singing this year, we can’t do a lot in terms of instrument playing. I’m going to do as much instrument playing as I can. I’ll have to have lessons created for my in-person kids as well as my virtual kids,” Nibert said. “It’s hard. Music is so interactive, it’s hard to do online, but we will find ways to make that work and to keep kids involved as much as they can.”

Nibert offered a few pieces of advice for students thinking about a career involving music. 

“Really research and kind of get an idea of what you’re really interested in. If you’re really passionate about it, don’t worry about the income, don’t worry about how much money you’re going to make. I feel like if you’re only going in it for the money, you’re probably going to be kind of miserable,” Nibert said. “Honestly, research as much as you can, talk to people who are in that field. Really just go for it. It can be stressful at times, but I think just developing that passion for what you do will help you along the way.”

Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected]