Music Education major Chris Goddard’s students were not surprised at all to see him performing with his band, Zero2Panic, on the roof of a downtown business during Pittsburg ArtWalk last Spring.

He’s just that non-traditional.

And that includes his approach to higher education.

Goddard, at age 32, earned two degrees in May: his bachelor’s in music education and his master’s in music performance.

He already held one: a degree in music performance that he earned in 2011. But when he accepted an offer to be the instrumental music instructor at an area community college, he learned something: that education is so much more than just having content knowledge.

“I wasn’t doing the school or the students any justice,” he said. “I lacked classroom management and I lacked the soft skills.”

He left it for a series of jobs, including working at a bank, a pizza kitchen, a burger shop, a car detailer, and a freelance musician. They paid the bills. And he was happy performing with Zero2Panic, as well as the bands Bill and Monica’s Excellent Adventure and Crossroads Jazz Orchestra.

But he wasn’t satisfied. So, he returned to PSU again in Fall 2017 — this time to pursue what he had originally set out to do as a freshman.

“I wanted to truly become a music educator,” he said.

This year, he got to do just that: He student taught at an elementary school where he helped to plan the second-grade music program. He student taught at Pittsburg High School, where he conducted everything from the wind ensemble to the basketball pep band. And this fall, he’s starting a job as the newly-hired K-12 music teacher for St. Paul, Kansas, School District.

“…I knew I had to do it the right way with the right education…Pitt State gave me that.” – Chris Goddard

“It’s a job that will challenge me, and at the same time will be very rewarding because I’ll get to see them grow,” he said.

His wife, Amanda Damewood-Goddard, is a music educator and band director at Labette County, and also earned a bachelor’s in music education from PSU. The couple performs together often with PSU Jazz Ensemble, SEK Symphony Orchestra, and PSU Wind Ensemble. Soon, she plans to return to campus herself to begin work on a master’s in special education.

“It actually was Amanda who sat me down and told me what made me the happiest is what I should do,” Goddard said. “That’s always been teaching music, but I knew I had to do it the right way with the right education and the right knowledge. Pitt State gave me that. It feels really satisfying.” •