I love dinner conversations with SD. Though our meals might range from gourmet (think étoufée-style shrimp and grits) to KFC (think fried chicken and macaroni and cheese) and more often than not, we eat at the breakfast nook rather than at the dining room table, I love this time of the day we get to share together. Sometimes, we talk about the things that happened during the day; other times, we listen to our favorite radio show online (since it’s not syndicated on our NPR station) and play the “name that tune/composer/style period/nationality” game. And some nights we get caught up in
nerdy intellectual conversations about music teaching and learning. And I love every minute of it.
Tonight, over plates of apple pancakes, raisin bread toast, and cheese grits, we started talking about our students and the progress they made in their lessons this afternoon. “My student is solid. She can play in E Major now – four sharps!” Steve said. “My student said tonight that she sometimes finds it easier to sight-sing her music before sight-playing it – yes!” I said, excitedly. We talked about our own experiences with learning to sightread and the effects of singing on the audiation skills (the ability to hear and comprehend music silently) and musical development of instrumentalists. I know – we’re complete nerds! Our conversation lasted through dinner and our dish-washing/drying time. It’s just so interesting to me to reflect on our musical pasts: comparing the ways we were taught, sharing experiences we’ve had, and exploring the ways we’ve developed into the musicians we are today. It’s amazing to watch part of this process unfold with the students I see each week – to watch them make connections, to let them figure out a new rhythm pattern on their own, to see them light up when they realize the freedom they have in learning to transpose.
This is my everyday. Every class, every lesson, every rehearsal is an opportunity for me to be a better teacher and to present new information in the clearest way I can. I want to inspire, to encourage, and to challenge my students to work hard, to practice hard, to set goals for themselves, to be curious, to try new things, and to never stop learning.