I’ve been wrestling with this question for a while. And there are a bunch of answers I could give. I love music. I’ve spent 39 years of my life making music, studying music and learning about music. I had amazing teachers that encouraged me. All of that is completely true. But that’s not the full reason why I teach.
As I thought about it, the answer became very clear to me. Music is transformative. That’s why I teach. Music has always been a major component of my life. Listening to records, cassettes and 8 tracks are some of my earliest memories in life. Hearing music in worship (my dad was a pastor) and singing along with hymns in church has been the rhythm of my life for as long as I can remember. And I think that’s why I missed it being the most important reason. Because it’s always been there.
Music has transformed me in many ways. As a child and into my teenage years, it gave me an outlet to build up my self-confidence and show my God-given abilities in many different ways. In high school, it transformed me from just being focused on church music (and pop music that I listened to on the radio) to being immersed in madrigals, vocal jazz music, musical theater and many other choral styles of music. And that transformation made me want to teach. I wanted to pass on that joy and enthusiasm to others.
It’s been 20 years since I graduated from college and been a “professional” teacher. I don’t use quotations around professional to knock myself down, but more to remind myself that I am still learning, just as much as my students are. In going to college and getting a music education degree, and spending 18 years in church music, the idea of building a business, marketing, social media and teaching lessons online were never really a thought….until March of 2020. Then everything flipped, and I had to learn on the fly. While I have 39 years of musical experience, I’m by no means an expert. I’m still learning and growing, just as every musician and every teacher is.
I teach because I love music. I teach because I had great teachers that encouraged me in so many ways. I teach because I love helping my students learn. I teach because I love seeing my students transformed. Not just learning the basics of music, but learning how discipline, perseverance, focus and everything else that goes with learning and performing music transforms students into people who are more in touch with their emotions, creative, driven and hard working. And that’s why I teach.