Ear for Music, Here for Students
Growing up in Akron, Sarah Labovitz, D.M.A., was surrounded by music. Her dad sang to the radio. Her mom played guitar. Her siblings excelled in music. She excelled in music. With a lengthy list of accomplishments across numerous states, she recently returned to “the heart of it all” as the new director of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University.
Labovitz has had a career heavily focused in band. She was in the marching band in high school, taught at the high school level, and then eventually moved her way up to be the associate director of bands at the collegiate level. Most recently, she was the chair of the music department at Arkansas State University.
Labovitz is coming to Kent State with more than an ear for music. She wants to hear from her school.
“My plan right now is to get to know everyone and what their goals and hopes and dreams are. I don't have as much institutional history as the people I'm working with,” Labovitz said. “And so, I really want to pick their brains, get to know them, get to know what they want to accomplish, and see how, how my thoughts and feelings interact with theirs.”
While Labovitz is acclimating to the Kent State culture, she is eager to meet and communicate with students, staff and faculty. Especially students, since this is her first position that is solely administrative.
“It's a little weird to be starting school not as a teacher, and it's even weirder starting the school year without direct reoccurring student interactions,” Labovitz said.
With her natural “students first” approach, Labovitz is partnering with a student to implement an advisory council to better lead the school and give everyone a voice.
“In my leadership, I really want to listen and help and be a facilitator.”
“My leadership style is one more of servant leadership than anything else,” Labovitz said. “In my leadership, I really want to listen and help and be a facilitator.”
Labovitz and her husband are glad to be coming home. Labovitz’s husband was a band director in Arkansas, and now he is a general music teacher, choir director, and assistant band director at an Akron Public Schools middle school.
The return makes her think fondly of her family.
“I was just really lucky that when I expressed interest in music, that they were really supportive of that,” Labovitz said. “I have two younger siblings; they also were active in music. They still appreciate music today.”
Like her parents helped her grow, Labovitz believes that her job is to help facilitate the school’s growth. She is aiming to create a space where students, staff and faculty can thrive.
“I want us to come together and form our own objectives for what we want to have happen in the near future, and then work together to come up with a plan to accomplish those things."
“I want us to come together and form our own objectives for what we want to have happen in the near future, and then work together to come up with a plan to accomplish those things,” Labovitz said.
Another element of the job Labovitz is excited for is the athletic bands’ new facility, the repurposed ice arena. The athletic bands at Kent State include the marching band and the pep band.
“I'm really excited to see the Marching Golden Flashes in action.”
“Having been a marching band member in high school and undergrad, having worked with marching band as a graduate assistant, and taught it in college, I get really excited about football. I love sports in general,” Labovitz said. “I'm really excited to see the Marching Golden Flashes in action.”
Aside from the athletic bands, Labovitz is thrilled to be working with so many talented students and directing the School of Music as a new member of the Golden Flashes family. Even though her area of expertise was band directing, she has a love and appreciation for all things music and is so excited to help all areas within the school succeed.