BY JOHNETTE FIGUEROA
Picture the best concert of your life. The drummer is slapping their cymbals a mile a minute, the singer is singing your favorite song, and you’re not quite sure whose sweat is dripping off your body. I bet you’ve never stepped back and wondered, “Where are these guys when they aren’t on stage?” But when the music stops, these talented musicians need something to fall back on and it’s safe to say that some of them live quite the double life.
Keith “Pause,” who chose not to reveal his last name because of his occupation, is one-fourth of the New Brunswick based indie rock band, “Meet Pause”. He is a singer, keyboardist and guitarist on the weekend and teaches a special needs kindergarten class, where he instructs students who share similar academic requirements and learning disabilities, during the weekday. Keith belies all stereotypes when one usually thinks of indie rockers.
“Your typical rocker also waits tables or works in a bar to get by,” explains Trevor Michaels, a twenty-seven-year-old rock enthusiast and novice guitarist. “You get used to going to your local restaurant and having someone you’ve formed a musical bond with also serving you a drink during happy hour.”
Sometimes having two identities isn’t easy. Keith’s students do not know that he is in a band and he prefers to keep it that way. Keith does not find it difficult to be a role model because his band aims to keep things positive while remaining creative. But does this creativity ever come with a cost?
“My first week of teaching, I played a show and helped Motion City Soundtrack film a video,” he recalls, “I didn’t sleep for 3 days.”
Although Keith is not a music teacher, he does try to incorporate music into his lessons.
“I teach them adaptive music which incorporates movement and music,” he explains. “I also make up songs to help them remember concepts like how much pennies, nickels and dimes are worth.”
In fact, one of his favorite memories involves this same teaching method.
“I had a class of first graders up singing and dancing a song that I made up about quarters and we are all laughing and having a good time,” he said.
Keith is not only adored by his students and fans, but his friends that started off as fans. Garvey Potter, a 19-year-old indie rock fan, has worked with Keith and his band in the past. Meet Pause was featured on Potter’s radio show on WSPC Radio, Indie Rebellion, during the shows first season. At the time of the live show, Potter was unaware of Keith’s true occupation.
“When I first heard that Keith was a teacher, I was not surprised,” explained Potter. “He is very talented and kind. I can see him being a teacher.”
Born in Rumson, New Jersey, no one would have guessed that Keith would be such an influential part of both the educational and musical scene. But if you ask Keith, he isn’t the only inspirational person in this story.
“I look up to my students all the time because they are faced with such extreme adversity every day of their life and they make it work,” said Keith. “It really puts things in perspective for me.”