Thursday, July 22, 2010

Music: Hear it, Learn it, TEACH it

Mr. Schneebly is my personal Role Model.
He just knows how to teach "fun!" 
Number 27 on the "38 Ways to Change the World Through Music" list simply say's "TEACH." You might think that you do not know enough to teach, but think about it a little longer. Aren't you passionate about something musical, even if that means simply listening to the music you loved as a teenager? Have you had one year of piano lessons? That is one year longer than many people, so there you go.

When I was 15, I had an older friend named Cari. She was always good to me. She would take me out for ice cream and play the piano while I sang in her living room. She knew how much I loved music, and she was very supportive of that. At 15, I had still had very little formal piano instruction. My family was struggling financially, and we couldn't afford piano lessons. I knew that in one year, I would be able to take the free piano class at my high school, but Cari could tell that I was dying to learn sooner, so she taught me!

At her church, Cari was required to do a community service project when she turned 18. This project needed to last for several weeks, and she chose to teach me piano lessons for FREE. FREE! I was so excited, and I could not believe it.

We met in her living room once a week for about two months, and she patiently taught me how to hold my hands correctly on the keys, sit up relaxed and straight, and to keep my eyes focused on the sheet music in front of me. She never got frustrated with my right-brain quirkiness.  After trying to explain the Math behind musical intervals a few dozen times, she calmly gave up with out making me feel bad about it. I always remember her patience when I stand next to a student with too much A.D.D. to also understand certain concepts. From her I learned to adopt the attitude, "Well, she'll get it one day..." No drama.

You might be surprised how much you can teach someone. If you have had at least one year of piano, why don't you pick up a set of piano method books like "Little Mozarts" and go through the lessons yourself? It won't take you long, and you will be surprised how much you remember. Then, do what Cari did for me: find a child who can't afford lessons and teach them what you know. If you are worried about having to stop after your knowledge runs out, don't. Cari only taught me for two months, but it clearly had a positive impact on me. I may not have mastered theory in two months, but Cari's lessons gave me something much more important: confidence. I felt confident to improvise on the piano. Improvising on the piano gave me an emotional outlet that I didn't have before those lessons.

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Another AMAZING Teacher!
Teachers are seriously the heroes of our time. Of all the life changing experiences I have had, almost all of them involve a great teacher. I don't say this as a teacher today, I say this as a student of yesterday. The teachers who made a difference in my life made a BIG difference, especially Cari.

If you don't feel you can teach piano, then think about something else. Is there a band you are so in love with you understand the deeper meanings behind their song lyrics? Share that with someone! Rent the documentary and watch it together. Bring this child to a record store and teach them the history of Vinyl. Watch a movie like "School of Rock" together and listen very carefully, and with great interest, as they tell you what they loved about the movie.  Pay close attention to what they think of Jack Black's character... Lot's of subtle information in that one!

If you need a little inspiration, here is a video from one of my favorite movies of all time, "School of Rock."


1 comment:

  1. I really want to see School of Rock! Looks awesome!