Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why I Love What I Do

Both yesterday and today I have had awesome reminders of why I love what I do. I'm always excited about starting a new school year of teaching. (I operate and teach in my own piano studio...for the probably 2 or 3 of you who might come across this who don't know me!) New is exciting. I love seeing the kids I haven't seen since May or even just since summer lessons ended in July. I have always loved "back to school" time...the supplies, the new-ness, the supplies, the scheduling....oh, and the supplies! (I kind of have a thing for school supplies...or just office supplies in general!)  But, it's also a stressful time. In my mom's words (she's also a piano teacher), I have to basically read the minds of 23 students and determine what they might want to play this year.  I give my kids several choices, and they get to pick their favorites. I firmly believe they will practice more and enjoy piano more if they like what they are playing. Choosing 2-3 pieces (or more in some cases) takes a good 60-75% of the first lesson, so, that's almost all I've done with the majority of my students this week.

Now to the important stuff...

Why I love what I do...

Yesterday, I had a parent text me to let me know that her 3rd grade daughter was so excited about starting back piano lessons that she practiced for 45 minutes after her lesson, and in her words, was "still going strong!" (For those of you who have never had anything to do with piano lessons, that's a lot for a 3rd grader...typical is 20-30 minutes each most!) The parent sent me another message later in the evening to let me know that she had practiced on and off most of the evening...probably totaling an hour and a half!

I have a very quiet middle school student. She transfered from another teacher to my studio last year. Most of the time, I get the idea that she doesn't want to be at lessons at all. She rarely smiles and hardly says anything the whole lesson. She occasionally likes one out of every 5-10 pieces I choose for her. Many times, we just have to settle on something that she sort of likes well enough to put up with for awhile. She took lessons over the summer, so she had a few things she had been playing. She played a piece for me that she had pretty much mastered over the summer. I told her I thought it was great and we didn't need to continue to work on it. She looked at me nervously, and guess what??? She asked if she could keep it and continue playing it for fun!!! Words and joy in making music!! So, our lesson was already off to a good start. Then, we started looking at music. She not only found 2-3 pieces she wanted to play, but she was happy about choosing them!

Students getting excited about making music....why I love what I do

And finally...this afternoon, I was sharing some new pieces with a 4th grade student. I set out a book of pop music and another book of praise and worship music for her. As I played through the pop songs, she sang along while I played. She frequently sings familiar songs in lessons, so I wasn't at all surprised by this. I started playing from the praise and worship book (which she had requested at our last summer lesson). She continued to sing along as I played, and I didn't really think anything of it...until we got to "Here I Am to Worship." Here I was, in a piano lesson with a 4th grader, playing a simplified worship song while she sang along...and, I started tearing, I had to work hard to hold back the tears. I just thought, what a beautiful expression of worship by a little girl in the middle of a piano lesson. How precious it was to hear her little voice singing, "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you're my God..." Nothing sweeter....

Students worshiping through His gift of music...why I love what I do

I get overwhelmed with all involved in running a studio as well as actually being responsible for teaching in that studio. I get frustrated with kids when they don't practice, when they don't remember things from week to week.  I get nervous about choosing new music for students..."will they like it enough to practice it???" It's nice, especially at the start of a new year, to have these little reminders of why I love what I do.

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