Today’s prompt for the April Blog A Day challenge is to write about “why I teach“.
What I thought was an easy question has given me some pause, not because I don’t know why I teach, but because there are so many reasons. Children, middle schoolers, adults, or other teachers, I love to teach because I LOVE participating with people learning. It matters to me that people are equipped with the resources they need to live good lives. And that’s where teaching comes in.
I’ve always been more of a project-based type teacher. The big picture matters to me more than the minutia of the how-to steps. I can teach to the details, I’m an awesome planner, but I embrace the freedom of the big idea.
I teach to instil enough hope to inspire people to embrace more; to never stop, to not give up. When students/adults connect with something that speaks to them, when they can’t wait to race forward with excitement, those are the moments that keep me going. Conversely, when people are struggling, I want them to know without a doubt that they can go on, step-by-step or sometimes, breath-by-breath. I teach to connect with people, but more importantly to facilitate the connection of people to people and ultimately people to self.
When I was full-time Music Specialist I stumbled upon an essay, entitled, “Why We Teach Music”. I have been unable to find its original author, so to that person, I give thanks. You’ve said what is in my heart.
Why do I teach? (My paraphrase of the original essay)
- So you will be human
- So you will recognize beauty
- So you will be sensitive
- So you will have something to cling to
- So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good
In short, more life!
(here is the entire essay)
Music is a SCIENCE
It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics.
A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph that indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once with the most exact control of time.
Music is MATHEMATICAL
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.
Music is a FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Most of the terms are Italian, German or French and the notation is certainly not English, but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is a HISTORY
Music usually reflects the environment and the times of its creation often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Music is a PHYSICAL EDUCATION
It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lips, cheek, and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.
Music is all of these things,but most of all Music is ART.
It allows a human being to take all of these dry, technically boring, but difficult techniques and use them to create emotion. That is the one thing science can not duplicate; human feelings, emotion, call it what you will.
That is why we teach music!
Not because we expect you to major in music…
Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life…
But, so you will be human –
– So you will recognize beauty –
– So you will be sensitive –
– So you will have something to cling to –
– So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good –
In short, more life!