Last Friday I met with over 30 teachers to share ideas, get updates about Music for Young Children(MYC), and learn new things at the spring MYC Eastern Ontario Teachers’ Meeting. I have been teaching MYC for 9 years and was given a new seal to add to my certificate (I still have trouble believing that my first students are now driving and/or in university!).
Instead of a musical guest speaker our coordinator invited Paula Roy, a local food writer, blogger, TV host, and exceptional home cook. Paula gave us some great tips to help with the hectic dinner time that musicians (and families) often have. You can check out her blog www.constantlycooking.com
Our (Top Secret) Teacher Discussion
Oh The Struggles
Whenever teachers get together we always discuss our teaching successes and struggles. The topic of practicing always comes up! There were a couple of things that occurred to me during this discussion:
EVERYONE struggles with practicing! Beginners, advanced students, teachers(!), it doesn’t matter who you are, it is hard to find time to practice.
You can still enjoy music (and be ‘successful’) even if you don’t practice ‘enough’.
One of my colleagues, Heather Lynn Smith, had this to say:
“I was a very inconsistent practicer as a kid, but I loved music. So, I stuck with lessons, never excelling but getting by. I passed exams and got through recital performances with some degree of embarrassment. However, I now teach music and perform professionally (on a different instrument), which I never could have done if I didn’t stick with my music learning. Sometimes, just getting by is good enough, since I was able to develop the skills of musicianship and the love of music that made it possible for me to succeed in music later on.”
Keep going, Don’t stop
I always push my students to practice more. This is because I know their potential, and I know how much better I could be now if I had practiced more when I was their age. But sometimes life gets in the way and it just isn’t possible to find extra time to practice. It can be frustrating and, as Heather Lynn said, sometimes it is even embarrassing.
Just remember the reason you signed up for lessons. Was it to produce the next concert performer? Probably not. I am going to make the assumption that you registered for music lessons because you want to create a love for music and to foster the skills to play for the joy of it. I thought our discussion was a good reminder that even though we strive to practice everyday, everything will be OK if we don’t.
Bringing the year to a close
I left the meeting feeling energized and ready to finish our year with a bang. Remember that music is hard work. It takes discipline and time to develop those skills. Sometimes it may take a little longer to get where we want to be and that is ok. We are in this for the long term enjoyment and not for that weekly practice sticker.