Monday, March 2, 2015

Music In Our Schools Month- Why I Teach

Happy March!

I saw another teacher blogger post about why she teaches music to kick off Music In Our Schools Month so I thought I would do the same.

Let me be honest here- in 1st and 2nd grade (and a little in 3rd and 4th grade) I was NOT a music kid.  Art was my favorite all the way. While I sang and played around on the piano at home I LOVED art class and even joined the Art Club and took classes in the summers from my favorite art teacher.  I was a little afraid of my 1st and 2nd grade music teacher who yelled at me for tying my shoes- we were playing Bounce High, Bounce Low.  She said "This is MUSIC CLASS- NOT Shoe Tying Class, if you want to tie your shoe GO OUT IN THE HALL!!!!!" Very vivid memory of mine. She also took a solo away from me in 2nd grade because my family was on vacation for the dress rehearsal (This one actually makes sense to me now, but in 2nd grade, I was NOT happy about it and I still remember what I was supposed to sing to this day).  3rd and 4th grade I went to a new school and started to like music a little more- and by 4th grade I was super excited that my class got to do Tinikling for our spring show.  I still teach it to my 4th graders every year!

In 5th grade I went to middle school and chose Chorus, with Mr. Gascoyne, instead of General Music and fell in love.  I tried band 2nd semester but there was a nickle stuck in my trombone (oops!) so it made me light headed to play so I went back to chorus in 6th.  Chorus and Musicals were, from that moment on, my favorite class.  I got to play SCROOGE in our 6th grade musical (all the boys were too afraid to try out) and started taking voice lessons from the 7th and 8th grade teacher the next year.

Mrs. Brickman was my first voice teacher and she taught me so much- in private lessons and in chorus/ 8th grade show choir in middle school.  I decided in high school that my goal in life was to be just like her.  I wanted to teach high school music (and of course Show Choir) and do operas in  my spare time.  My senior year of high school Mrs. Brickman passed away after a hard fought battle with breast cancer and that made me all the more determined to go to music school and get my degree.  She was one of the first who told me I could succeed in music besides my family.  She helped me through those rough middle and high school years but did not baby me (I didn't make Show Choir freshman year- because I blanked on the dance and... if I'm still being honest- could NOT sight-read to save my life.  I just worked harder to make it the next year.) She taught me to work hard and Be Professional- while still having fun. I still teach my chorus students the first song she ever taught me.  It is a silly partner song and we use it as a warm-up.  I still keep in contact with her parents who and when I am feeling frustrated/ overwhelmed/ annoyed with bad behavior I listen the recording of her Senior Recital they sent me (or just look at the tattoo on my foot which is a treble clef intertwined with a pink breast cancer ribbon) and I remember why I chose this profession.

Mrs. Brickman will be a teacher I will never forget and I hope that I can reach just 1 student in the same way.  I would say that even though I now teach Elementary and do community theater musicals instead of operas I have succeeded in my goal and I hope to be the Best Music Teacher Ever to every student who passes through my door.

So why elementary??  All through college I still wanted to be a High School Choral Director- until my student teaching semester.  I took Elementary Methods in a quick 5 weeks before I started student teaching.  I still student taught Middle and High School Chorus (too late to switch) but knew I wanted to be in elementary.  I love(d) the songs, the dances, the fun transitions- everything about elementary music.  I especially was excited about getting to be the one to introduce elementary students to all the wonderful music out there in the world- folk songs, classical music, folk dances, music from other cultures and more.  To see how excited students are when they walk through the door is the best!

Music is my passion and my life and I am so lucky I found an elementary teaching job.  I LOVE going to work every day and seeing the JOY on students faces when we are singing, dancing, and playing instruments.  The "A-Ha" moments when students understand a new concept- or when they figure out a new rhythm or solfegge note before I present it just by using what they know and filling in the blanks are so special.  Hearing students sing in the hallway or seeing them play a music game on the play ground just makes my heart burst.  I often think "What would I be if I wasn't a Music Teacher??" and cannot think of anything.  I have decided if I am ever riffed and can't find a music job- I'll just start my own music school because I could not go a day without hearing those beautiful little voices.

Why do you teach??

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