Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Lasting Influence

A few days ago, one of my former private teachers passed away at too young an age. I went through several very difficult experiences during the time I studied with him. While his musical influence was immeasurable, his personal influence was certainly one of the reasons I made it through those dark days with my sanity and faith intact.

It was just four years. How long will some of my piano students study with me? In the years that I’ve been teaching, I’ve had students who have been through parents divorcing, custody disputes, the deployment of military parents, deaths of family members, transfers between foster families, and who knows what all else that I haven't been aware of. I’m in no way qualified to be a counselor to them when they go through these things, but I know first-hand the immense value of communicating that I care deeply about them and the things that affect them. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the product of our teaching is not an ephemeral musical performance, but a person who is richer for having played it.

It's actually quite frequent that I am the only adult who spends one-on-one time with a child other than his parents. What a huge responsibility. We are crafting souls, for good or bad, whether we plan to or not.


Charlotte H said...

What a great reminder. Thank you!

Dorrie said...

I'm new to blogging, and have been following many piano blogs. Thank you for sharing that and reminding us how important the relationship between teacher and student is. You are right in saying that we are not qualified as counselors, but in many ways we are providing our students with coping mechanisms and the tools they need to express themselves (in this case, to express themselves in a healthy, creative, and FUN way!)

It is a huge responsibility - teaching is huge. What I have to remind myself is just to be myself, be myself for my students so they too can learn to be themselves. Show them how people are supposed to act, how they are supposed to care for one another. One of the greatest things about music is that we can all understand it, we are all in it together --- sometime we all need to hear that everyonce in a while. :)