Inspirational teachers needed …

My daughter’s first experience of music lessons in school could so easily have been her last.

She was excited that she would be learning drumming – and so was I. All those creative possibilities: developing a love of rhythm, getting a feel for that primal effect it has, learning how rhythm changes our feelings, our mood, so dramatically. But it was not to be.

After about six weeks, she came home in tears, refusing to go any more. The reason? It took me a while to figure out, but in the end it came down to something really simple.

The tutor just wasn’t that keen on teaching, or on kids. Although a pleasant enough person to speak to (as an adult), teaching music to kids clearly wasn’t his first love. It really showed. It showed through the way my daughter spoke about him, and it showed in the way she felt about her lessons.

If only someone had told him he wasn’t cut out for this (although I’m sure he knows: for him it’s probably something to supplement his other music work). Not least the person who interviewed him for the job.

Thankfully, my daughter persevered. With the help of an inspiring, funny and enthusiastic violin teacher, who has the kids eating out of his hands, she’s continuing with school music lessons. But it was a close call. It could have turned her off making music for life.

In ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything‘ Ken Robinson argues that we all need to find our ‘element’ – to achieve all that we’re capable of, by finding what we’re passionate about.

Children’s musical experiences are too important to be left to people who are doing this just because they can. The best music tutors are those who do it because they *must*.

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2 thoughts on “Inspirational teachers needed …

  1. Nip it in the bud says:

    This story reminded me of something else I read this week about the importance of loving what you do. http://changethis.com/manifesto/issue/71.03.FourLetterWord#view

    ”One of my favorite teachers from high school taught a subject for which I initially had little regard. However, it soon became clear that he was as interested in his students as he was his subject, and he taught it in such a way that they would truly benefit from his instruction.
    Love is teaching someone else with gentleness, discernment, and selflessness. By offering up our experience and hard-won knowledge, we can help others to avoid mistakes that we’ve made, achieve results that we’ve been able to achieve, and improve beyond what we’ve been able to accomplish. The most effective teachers walk alongside their students as they learn, appreciating their accomplishments rather than emphasizing their shortcomings.” – Mark Sanborn

    • anitanee says:

      Too true – thank you for the positive angle to balance my negative experience. Change This is (are?!) fab. As are the many, many, MANY fantastic musicians working with young people, in and out of schools, your husband included.

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