Music instructor couple balance careers, family

Wife says she put her family first but return to arts came naturally



“We are both stubborn people,” Denise Snider, instructor of music and undergraduate adviser says about her and her husband. “That’s the quality it takes — no one is quitting.”

ZACH GOFF, Evergreen reporter

Denise and Dave Snider came together through music. They’ve been married for 33 years, and now their mutual passion has placed them in the same WSU department.

“We’ve had a great time together actually. We’ve loved almost every minute of it,” said Denise, adviser and instructor for the school of music.

The two met while in the U.S. Air Force. Dave, an instructor for the School of Music, joined the Air Force in 1978, and eight years later, his future wife joined the band. The two spent the first year of their lives together touring Europe with their band. By 1986, the two were married, and in 2002, they settled in Pullman.

“They thought it wouldn’t last,” Denise said. “We were the odd couple in the Air Force; we didn’t even tell people we were getting married.”

Dave says he and his wife have never run into problems as a married couple in their department.

Dave said working in the same department as his spouse has never presented an issue for him.

“We’ve been working together for a number of years, and there has never been an issue at all about us with the faculty or the administration,” Dave said. “If we do something against the university, we’re gonna be treated the same as if we were two people that weren’t married.”

Denise began working at the university in 2012 after their youngest of four children graduated from high school. She is an instructor and an undergraduate adviser for the school of music and is a band conductor outside of work. Dave is an instructor and draws attention as a jazz bassist performing with other faculty players.

Denise said she took 12 years off of music to focus on home life, but once she got back into music, she felt like she never left.

“I gave everything up,” Denise said. “The good thing was that I found that everything I ever studied or learned didn’t go away. It was sitting there waiting.”

For the past seven years, the two have worked in the same building. They said they have found a rhythm to balance their work and home life.

“When Denise and I get together, we watch movies, we go out to dinner, and enjoy what little time we have left after our other activities,” Dave said. “It’s really kind of cool. We have fun, and since we enjoy music together, we have so much in common.”

The pair also enjoy watching old movies together after a long day at work. Dave said his work is fun, and his personal and work life have always blended together. For Denise, she must draw a line.

“I have made a conscious decision that once I step out of this building, none of this exists,” Denise said.

Denise said they are a traditional family. Though her job could change, her role as a mother, wife and daughter are constant. She believes in stability. Having people or a place that is reliable when all else fails is part of any successful relationship.

“Sometimes the things that drive you most crazy about the person you live with are the things that you really need to be confronted [with] because it is going to help you improve your character,” Denise said.

Denise and Dave said to keep a relationship alive, it is important to respect each other’s boundaries.

“We are both stubborn people,” Denise said. “That’s the quality it takes — no one is quitting.”