Passing down the gift of music
Being a music teacher or a music instructor is not always an easy job. For instance, sometimes is hard to keep your students motivated during each music lesson. Other times you have to deal with difficult parents who are pushing a child beyond her limits only because they dream of having a star in the family. And sometimes you will just feel tired. It is the same that happens with music practice: you have to do it every day, no matter if you want to give up sometimes!
If you are a music instructor, children all ages will listen to you, pay attention to your corrections, and, what’s more important, trust you! And, like Stan Lee’s Spiderman knows well, with great power comes great responsibility. In your hands is the ability to pass down the gift of music. Your students may learn not only to play an instrument but to really love and appreciate this unique form of expression that will change their lives for good. Such a huge task you have ahead!
First things first: you should love music!
Children learn more about yourself for the way you act and the way you think, more than through formal instructions. While you may teach them the right-hand position for a specific guitar chord or how to play a G sharp in their flute, the only way to transmit the love of music is to be a music lover yourself. While you may wonder who could ever become a music instructor without loving music, let me tell you a story I heard from my grandfather.
He had a younger cousin, let’s call her Rose, whose mother had the obsession that she should become a piano teacher. Despite the fact Rose showed no interest in music whatsoever, the mother became her instructor, and forced her daughter to long hours of daily practice until she was able to enter a music academy. In there, Rose continued to study for six long years, after which she got her professional degree at last. So this young woman went home, handed the diploma to her mother, and finally closed the piano. She never played again in her lifetime!
To put it briefly,
before turning into a music instructor just because you need a few bucks or
because someone else told you so; do it because you cannot live without music
and you want to pass down this passion to others.
Music should be fun
If children enjoy your class, they will most likely fall in love with music. So instead of focusing on the discovery of young talents, think of your task as doing the best for young students to have a great time. Besides, it doesn’t matter if your students don’t become famous musicians, in the end, the gift of music will still be alive in their hearts, and you never know how far your lessons will take them later in life.
When I was 9, I
had a great music teacher at school. He was amusing, he made jokes, he made up
funny songs, and he made us play great games. One day he told me I had conditions
to join the school choir. It was something that had never occurred to me, but
because I had such a great time in his classes, I did it. And let me tell you,
it was the best decision I could have taken!
Being in the choir I made new friends, I got to travel to other regions of the country, I got to meet new people, and I lost my stage fright. And that’s not all! Singing had all kinds of positive effects on me as I grew up, such as a better posture, or a great pronunciation of foreign languages (I speak two of them besides my mother tongue). Later in life, I became a teacher myself: a literature teacher, not a music instructor. And yet, today I am so thankful for the gift of music, in particular for all the vocal training I received, which today, almost 30 years later, allows me to teach a huge class without yelling or hurting my vocal cords.
The gift of music may pass to the least expected
One more thing to
remember, especially if you teach a lot of students, is that you may not pass
down the gift of music to each and every one of them. Hey, I bet Rose
aforementioned had a bunch of good teachers, but they couldn’t change her mind.
However, since you don’t know who will end up treasuring your lessons, whose
life you are about to change, you should treat each and every one of your
students as they are truly the depositaries of a treasure.
Let me tell you one last story. I’m not a musician myself, but I married one! When my husband was in his early twenties, he became a guitar instructor as he finished his formal studies in the music conservatory. He taught many, many music classes to young children who had never played the guitar before. Some of them tried for a few months, maybe a year or so, and then decided to give up and change the after school activity. But a few of them grew up to be musicians themselves!
In other words, if the tutor had got frustrated and thought all of those children were in his classes only to spend some hours after school doing something, he may have missed passing down the gift of music to some of them. There are former students that recorded albums or studied in the conservatory later on, and each and every one of them claims that my husband, their guitar instructor, played a huge role in their vocation.
Music tutors have
a huge task: to pass down the gift of music, perhaps unaware of the way it may
change their students’ lives in the future. If you love music, your desire will
be for others to love it as well. Remember this, especially on difficult days!