(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Steve Gowans was in fourth grade when he traded the baritone horn for a trumpet.
The trumpet took Gowans a long way – from Skyline High in Dallas to Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) where he earned a full band scholarship. He became a Section Leader in the PVAMU Marching Storm Band in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Gowans was a band director and assistant band director for multiple secondary campuses in Dallas. He learned to play nearly every instrument, from a longtime band director in Dallas – a skill that serves him well in his current position.
In 2020, Gowans – a Cedar Hill citizen and parent of two Cedar Hill ISD scholars, made the change to elementary education. He accepted a position as the Music Teacher at Bray Elementary – which has the district’s Fine Arts Signature Program.
Since he’s arrived at Bray, Gowans has created Bray’s annual Holiday Musical. This year’s show is “Elflandia.”
“We practice in the gym, and every kid has a notecard with their part,” Gowans said.
With scholars that range from Pre-K to fifth graders, Gowans has to be versatile.
He teaches the younger scholars rhythm – often with foam noodles as drumsticks. For the scholars who are about to move up to middle school, he expects them to read full notes and to be prepared to play in one of the middle school bands.
Gowans encourages his fourth and fifth graders to write lyrics and music, and to make their own dance routines.
“We’re working on a school song now,” Gowans said.
Gowans’ impact has gone beyond just the scholars, having installed a piano in the teacher’s lounge.
“It gives the campus the energy to be something like the movie, ‘Fame’,” Gowans said. “We’re making the school interactive.”