Karl Scarborough ’91

An Eastern Washington University alumnus and long-time Washington state music teacher is celebrating a new honor. Karl Scarborough ’91 was recently inducted into the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame.

Scarborough teaches music in the Winlock School District, a small town in Southwest Washington. He’s been helping kids learn and appreciate music there for 28 years. InsideEWU caught up with Scarborough to discuss his recent honor, his career and his time at Eastern.

InsideEWU: Congratulations! How does it feel to receive this honor?

Scarborough: I am so humbled to receive this award and honor. When I look at some of the great music teachers who are in the Hall of Fame, including Patrick Winters, my mentor and former band director and professor at EWU, and Marty Zyskowski, former professor and symphony conductor at EWU, I am honored to be included in the Hall.

I received great teaching from them, but I also need to acknowledge the many colleagues I have in my area that I get to teach with. Our small schools have a tight knit group of music teachers who rely on each other to make it through the many challenges of small schools. I am honored to share this with them.

InsideEWU: And your students?

Scarborough: Having great kids and supportive parents is important. I am honored to share music with all of these kids. Sometimes I think I spend more time with the kids than their own parents! I believe building that relationships with the kids is key to a good music program. I am blessed to have built many great relationships over the years.

InsideEWU: Why do you think music education is so important?

Scarborough: I believe music is the way to teach kids about life—using music. I get to teach great kids great music. I also believe music is the conduit to all other subjects. It promotes creativity, which is perhaps the most important skill kids need in the world. Band allows kids to be creative and also be a part of something bigger than themselves. In a world of “self,” music in our schools teaches that it is not about “me,” but about “we.”

InsideEWU: What are some of your favorite moments with your students?

Scarborough: We get a chance to create lasting memories. We have taken bands to Disneyland, Silverwood, and so many festivals and contests. We also take them to the Tacoma Opera to expose them to a professional opera production. Kids have come back to see me years after graduation and have shared their memories from band and choir trips and the many experiences we have shared. This is so important and special to me.

InsideEWU: Let’s go back to your college years. What did you like about studying at EWU?

Scarborough: I really liked EWU with the size of the campus—easy to get around and accessible. The classes were easy to get to without having to hike too far. Of course, now I see so many new buildings and resources we didn’t have.

InsideEWU: What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Eastern?

Scarborough: I am proud to have graduated from EWU. I believe when Patrick Winters arrived, along with some of the other great teacher there, the music program became a quality program. I enjoyed the opportunity to perform in so many groups, and as a music major I was given the opportunity to travel with Patrick to do clinics in local schools and help host festivals and visiting groups. EWU is a great school, a great community and small enough to get to know so many great people.

InsideEWU: How did your experiences at EWU influence your career?

Scarborough: EWU gave me the tools to be successful in teaching. A college education will never teach everything you need in your job, but I feel I received many valuable skills in my education there. Perhaps most important is the skills I developed with the mentorship I received. I do miss college quite a bit—all the performing, the level of music we played and the friendships that college and music provides.