On yet another whirlwind night at the beginning of a busy week, my family kicked off Music in Our Schools month with a high school band concert. I was in awe as I watched these elegant young men and women file out on stage. I thought back to the first concerts I attended and marveled at how far these students have come in a few years.
I think my community is so fortunate to have such a talented team of music teachers from K-12. This group of educators works tirelessly to both teach children music and nurture a love for music.
Anyone who has ever walked by the music room door and heard the cringe worthy cacophony of a third grade class learning recorder would appreciate the effort and patience it takes to teach children music. Yet, when it is concert time these same children all are able to perform “Mary had a Little Lamb” and “Hot Cross Buns” with confidence. The music teacher stands in front directing and encouraging.
As the children move into learning instruments, the level of patients required is staggering. At this level 10-12 year old children are learning larger, louder more complicated instruments. Patience is a virtue needed to teach both those who practice and those who don’t. Listening to the first concert of first year musicians is like listening to a miracle… they actually sound like a band.
Middle school music teachers are amazing and dedicated people. They work with large groups of adolescents who are armed with noisy instrument and manage to get them to play together harmoniously. They are able to differentiate their class to meet the needs of both students who have an interest and/or talent and those who are in band because their parents “think it’s a good idea”.
As the students move into high school the possibilities are endless. Combos, choirs, ensembles, band and chorus mix and remix the kids to provide the musicians with multiple and varied opportunities to learn craft and develop their talents. Many rehearsals before and after school prepare the musicians for local performances and to compete in festivals.
Once again listening to our high school band I was transported by the music to a peaceful and happy place. It is easy to forget that the musicians are teenagers. Music teachers are so lucky that they get to share their passion for music with kids and we are so lucky to have them. The benefits of what these teachers do is far reaching into all of our classrooms and I am so thankful for the work they do.