I love getting mail! Unfortunately, 4 times out of 5 my mailbox is filled with credit card offers and flyers from the SuperSaver that got my address when I tried to win a big flat screen TV at their grand opening. Yesterday, though, I was happy to find this quarter’s edition of the Music Educator’s Journal published by NAfME. Usually, I scan through these and read one or two articles and let the rest sit, but this issue is packed full of great material and I’ve been totally absorbed in it for the last two days.
I loved Patty Oeste’s discussion of why she left the stage as a performer and became a music educator.
“Every student who enters my classroom is a story being written, and I am allowed to contribute a page or two. My pages are important, and I do not take this responsibility lightly. … I see the power of music in action every day. My students thrive. They learn to listen, and they learn to be flexible in their thinking. They take risks, and gladly. And what is truly amazing is that many students who enter my classroom don’t always shine in other classrooms. But, we can revel in their many successes in music. We laugh. We talk. We sing. We create.
I would have to say that I am not hear to teach music, but to surround my students with the beauty they may not find elsewhere.”
This description is exactly why I love teaching music! Teaching music is about giving students the chance to experience beauty that is not found elsewhere. We prepare them to encounter the world’s beauty wherever they might find it.
I also loved Ms. Oeste’s description of what leaving the performing stage was like:
“I found that the perfection and discipline demanded on stage is even more important in the classroom setting.”
The last five years I spent working toward my performance degree was not wasted. It trained me to be disciplined, to seek perfection, and to build an attitude of excellence that I will bring to my future classroom every day.