I honestly had never thought about how I impacted my students when I first started teaching 15 years ago. After graduating from college, I wanted to try teaching as a way to make extra income. All of a sudden, I started falling in love with my students and I realized how much I influenced their lives. Being a music teacher and giving the gift of music can be incredibly rewarding, and I can honestly say that we do make an impact on the students we teach.
Kids are involved in so many activities these days: sports, dance, study groups, learning languages...the list could go on and on! But music lessons give students something that many of these group activities don’t: one on one attention with a teacher.
For just a moment, forget about the benefits of music education. Think about your child and how much one on one time they get with a teacher. Even if they are in a small school, they don’t get 30 minutes to an hour of individual attention. In addition, we as parents are also pulled in so many different directions that giving each of our children special attention is rare. This is why private lessons are so great, as long as you feel comfortable with the adult your child is with.
I love learning about my students, especially their interests, and most of the time I like to hear about how they are doing when I see them at lessons (how their day at school was, what they are sad/happy about, what’s going on at home, why they got to practice more/less this week, etc.) Many times these students will tell me things that they won’t talk to their parents about. Sometimes talking about feelings in the music will drive out emotions in the student, and they begin to use the music as a way of expressing and understanding their thoughts and feelings. I encourage them to keep working harder, and they want to become better pianists for me because there is a relationship and trust. It is really amazing!
Bringing music back into this chat, I think that learning to play an instrument teaches and reinforces lifelong habits. Learning a piece sections at a time teaches discipline and time management. Memorizing and preparing for a recital or contest teaches presentation skills and being in front of an audience. And lastly, practicing teaches dedication and commitment. These are all lifelong skills that we want to teach our children, and music teachers have a key role in helping kids learn how to do this. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we are raising well-rounded students who will be prepared for high-school, college, and eventually real life!
To think that a while ago I didn’t even consider how I was going to touch the lives of my students is kind of crazy! Being a piano teacher can sometimes be much more than just teaching music. I expect to touch the lives of each student I come in contact with by being a positive role model and teaching them the love of music. The thing I don’t always expect is how students touch my life in return, and that’s probably another blog waiting to be written...