Yesterday, we showcased the Gwinnett School of Music located here in Grayson. In this follow up piece, we talk to a teacher at the school, Kim Wright, where she spends her time lending her musical talent and lifetime of knowledge to our tiny little town. Its important to get to know the people in our community, whether they live here or work here, as they are all part of our larger story and enrich our lives. I learned so much about Kim in this interview, and can’t wait to share it with you.
I was more than a little excited to talk with Mrs. Kim, not only because she has a wealth of experience and a very kind, sweet, and ever-patient personality, but also because I feel we are uniquely lucky to have working musicians and gifted artists like her in our community. I feel a tiny bit qualified to say that, as she’s been teaching my little one for about a year, and we couldn’t love her more. Hence why I keep calling her “Mrs. Kim” – I’m a creature of habit.
On Her Students…
Mrs. Kim has been teaching professionally for 8 years, 5 of which she has spent at the Gwinnett School of Music. Working at both the Grayson and Lilburn locations she offers voice training for beginners and advanced level students, as well as beginner to intermediate piano training. Her students range from 5 to 67; supporting the idea that a love for music transcends age and touches something in everyone.
She said this about her students:
“My students are smart, and they keep me on my toes as I’ve learned over the years to adjust my teaching methods to suite their individual strengths. This highly motivates me! Teaching affords me the opportunity to constantly re-visit music principles and practices not only for my students, but for myself as well. There is always more to learn with music. This art is a continual process and I enjoy learning new thoughts and ideas to personally relate to music while also helping others relate to music. Helping students discover their own unique voice and/or playing style is what teaching is all about for me. Seeing their eyes light up and hearing the beautiful sounds they create once they begin to understand how to use a certain technique is very rewarding”
Who wouldn’t want someone like that influencing, inspiring and educating our children and community?
On Growing Up..
In our conversation she shared music has been a driving force throughout her life. Her mom is a singer, organist and pianist and has worked in various positions as a Music Director for church choirs all of her life….usually 2 or 3 churches at a time. She remembered fondly that growing up they used to sing gospel and music around the house all of the time, her brother would even join in singing, while her mama played her B3 organ or upright piano and her daddy would be the sole audience member cheering from the living room couch. These early influences and training set her on a lively journey of music and self-discovery.
On Her Professional Music Career
Her professional music career really started in Atlanta about 15yrs ago. Working as a lead singer and actress for several touring gospel musical plays, sang as background vocalist for national artists, and fronted cover bands in local clubs, festivals, and corporate events. Along the way, in 2003, she ended up meeting and marrying her husband, Steve, a talented guitarist. They started writing music together which eventually led to the formation of their own original band called DaysAhead.
She shared her most memorable gig was when the two of them performed as an acoustic guitar/vocal duo as the featured guest artist for the Intwasa Festival in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
We were sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to go there and conduct music clinics for the festival-goers and perform two concerts. As Independent Artists, this is a huge deal! Africa was beautiful, the people were so welcoming and treated us generously. It was a life-enhancing experience.
Days Ahead released their debut cd in 2005 to rave reviews and sales. Fast forward to today, where they’re now in productions of their sophomore cd, to be released soon. She describes their musical style as Jazz-n-Roll, “a jazz approach to rock and soul”. All this and an educator too!
On her lifetime of work, music, and educating others:
“I am grateful to have a career as a musician. I am equally grateful to be able to express my true self and love of music through my band, DaysAhead. Financial stability follows passion and hard work. This I have come to realize. It’s very important to me, a musician striving to keep the traditions of and appreciation for music alive, to share this with my peers and especially our younger generations. Art is the pulse of our community. Music is our weapon, and our voices are the key.
I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes. I heard this profound statement from a highly accomplished dancer turned dance instructor who is native to Bali, Indonesia. His name is Ketut Kantor and he said “Without Art, People Would Not Be Normal”
… its amazing the incredible people you can stumble upon on the streets of Grayson. Amazing talent and beautiful souls fill our community and our lives, I’m grateful I got to talk to one of them today.
You can check out days ahead original music, buy cds and/or single downloads, and read more about her band at www.daysaheadmusic.com
You can read the full-length version of her interview Q&A by clicking [here].
You can also check out the original article on the Gwinnett School of Music by clicking [here].