With all of the exciting growth that’s been going at Music So Simple in the first month, I am thrilled to say that I, Ms. Meredith, am the newest teacher to join the studio!
Let me start with a little about my background. I have had an interest in music for as long as I can remember; I sang every word of every Disney song like it was in my DNA before kindergarten. And like any child with an older sibling studying piano, my mother signed me up for lessons with Ms. Reithmeyer. She was a wonderful teacher, and boy did I love getting those stickers when I played well! But getting me to practice was like pulling teeth, and I would stomp off with frustration (literally) when I didn’t play it right the first time.
Around the same time, I began choir at Prestonwood Elementary. Singing was easy for me and I had a natural talent for it. I did my first audition in the 2nd grade and scored a role as the Lead Zebra in our school play “It’s a Jungle Out There”. This turn of events helped me win my case a couple of years later when I begged my mom to let me quit piano- I convinced her that I was meant to be a singer and not a pianist, and I’m sure she was fed up with nagging me to practice, so she let me quit.
I was a choir member throughout high school at J.J. Pearce, and even earned a coveted spot in the all-girls acapella group my senior year. I absolutely loved the community that choir gave me, and it made me feel a sense of being a part of something bigger. But I became curious about piano again: perhaps because it goes hand in hand with being a vocalist. I asked myself, “Why did my mom let me quit piano? I wish I hadn’t of quit...I’d be sooo good by now!” It seems like everyone I have met who learned an instrument at a young age and stopped playing has asked themselves this very same question. So I started trying to teach myself piano again, with very, very slow progress, but this time I had a motivation that wasn’t there before.
I continued my musical studies while earning my music therapy degree at SMU, with a concentration in voice. I still remember attending my music theory class for the first time with no knowledge amongst students fresh from Booker T. Washington, and I had never felt so incompetent. I ended up having weekly tutoring from my very patient professor, Dr. Foster, and other students who volunteered their precious practice time. I was also required to take piano for 2 years, and it was this class with Dr. Karp that inspired me even more to practice. I also learned to play guitar my sophomore year of college (another requirement as a music therapy student), which solidified my belief that you really can learn an instrument at any age. For my readers who are convinced that they are too old to learn and that they missed their window- you are wrong!
All of the experiences I’ve had in my journey definitely play a part in my teaching. I understand those students who want to play perfectly right away and who hate to practice. I empathize with those who are frustrated trying to sightread something new. I share their joy when they earn a sticker for their accomplishments. Whenever I’m helping a student learn roman numerals for chord progressions in their workbooks I think of the days when I struggled to keep my eyes open in my 8 am theory class in college. And I always tell my students that there has to be a little bit of struggle in order to progress. I really am grateful for the challenges I faced in becoming a musician, and I know that I am a better teacher because of them.