I recently had an article published in Colorado Kids Magazine. It is on the last page of the January issue. Here it is!!
The Piano Lesson The call to inspire young minds
still remember those long walks... books under my arms, hands
sweating, fingers drumming in place trying to make up for the practice
that I had failed to complete the previous week. Hoping that today he
would not compare me to his star pupil, Mike, my best friend. He would
say, in his German way, “Vye can you not be like Mike”. Be like Mike,
it was kind of my motto.
And so piano lessons took on this
tone. Nervous walks, tentative playing, and endless comparing to Mike.
We had both started lessons at the same time, and yet he seemed to fly
through the material at twice the speed I took. And for some, this type
of motivation might have been devastating, and maybe in some ways that I
don't still understand, it was. And yet, my experience with music did
not end dismally as one might think.
I still learned music, and
became, well, I became a moderately good paino player. But something
happened, which I am still now understanding, to my mind and heart
through the constant exposure to music. I began to want more. And so I
joined wood-wind ensembles, and high-school choirs, and then college
choirs where I eventually met my husband. We played Mozart and sang
Handel and I was, and will forever be, in love with music.
Looking back, I wonder what or who happened to me along the way to help
me. I believe music is so resilient in it's own right, and yet I am not
a naturally amazing musician – so I know I had help along the way.
After some reflection, I can account this transformation to two people:
my high-school music teacher, Dr. Mac, and my College Choir director,
Dr. K. Both of these men were so in love with what they were teaching
that it seeped out of them, and into me! That is truly the only way I
know how to describe it.
What makes a person able to inspire
another; able to influence? We all desire this, do we not? We want to
be drawn in - to be lost in the beauty. But some of us, most of us,
have no clue how to get there on our own. We need that gentle
reassurance, and the deep moments of inspiration. Searching for this
hidden beauty in all aspects of life takes time and committment - and
mentors along the way. And then once we have found something we love we
desire to give back! I have heard it said before that “we are all
experts in some area”. The question is, have we found what that area is
and jumped in to inspire young minds?
Some of my most
rewarding moments as a piano teacher involve the transformation of duty
into desire; of when a student truly "gets it". It doesn't happen all
at once, but through the avenue of relationship, and a song that catches
their heart. But when it happens it's like watching your baby learn to
walk. That huge smile they give you because they're just so happy to
please you - it's what keeps you coming back, again and again.
As I think about my own kids, and how I would love them to have all the
opportunities to enjoy music as I have... I know that I can't protect
them from what might sometimes be the “negative” experience. It's
quite possible that they may not get the "lead role" in some play, or
they might be asked to sing "more quietly" in their elementary school
choir. But with exposure is life - the good and the bad - and with that
the opportunity and chance to be changed forever by something, or
someone, who moves them.
And so push your kids - not in too
many areas, but in some; enough to have the options and opportunity to
fall in love with what is right for them. Be aware of your teachers,
and how their attitudes and approach is either discouraging, or
inspiring - once in a while you may need to intervene! And then, be
that gift to your, or possibly, someone else's kids. We can pray that
there will be a few people along their journey that will inspire them
the way I was. And that just might be enough.