This is my final opportunity to share a few of my thoughts in my last President’s Message as I step aside and welcome Lori Weidemann into the role of president for the next term! Words cannot express what being the president of this organization has meant to me over the past two years! I know I have said it before, but I will say it again – it has literally changed my life! The courage, confidence, wisdom, perseverance and self-esteem I have gained from doing this job has made me a better person – something that I can carry with me from this day forward! I have learned a ton about each of our events, but more than anything, I have gained the most amazing circle of friends! I truly love DVMTA and all of you! Thanks for believing in me, encouraging me and trusting me to serve as your president. It has been the greatest honor!
And now for this month’s message…..
I will never forget reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a high-school freshman and coming across that famous quote, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” At times, I find myself frustrated with my piano students when they don’t practice, when they can’t grasp a theory concept, when they can’t memorize what I consider a simple pattern, when they struggle to read the notes or the rhythms, etc. To me, so many of these things are second nature after playing piano for 54 years! When I feel the frustration coming on, I have to immediately remind myself what things are like from my student’s point of view. What is it like to walk around in their skin? Lucky for me, I am obsessed with instruments, and if I could, I would learn how to play nearly every single one! Ten years ago, I decided it was time to learn how to play the flute – the instrument I really wanted to play as a 5th grader when the band teacher told me I had to play clarinet because I had braces! I did not take lessons, but boy, did I learn a thing or two about being a student anyway! It was the perfect opportunity to “climb into my student’s skin” and experience what it was like to be a beginner! For months, I had to keep referring to the fingering charts, I made myself light-headed from blowing incorrectly, I struggled to produce a clear tone or even produce a sound at all on those low notes, and I got irritated at the number of times I would have to play something before I felt I had sufficiently mastered it! And memorizing? Yikes! That was quite difficult as well! I couldn’t help but relate to my students’ struggles as I encountered these struggles of my own! I even got a good dose of the discipline it takes to make yourself practice every day, and how painstakingly slow progress is when you don’t! If you haven’t attempted to learn a new instrument while being a piano teacher, I highly recommend it. It really helps you to understand the learning process and helps you to be more compassionate about your students’ individual struggles. Since teaching myself flute, I have since taught myself cello and guitar as well. Am I a master on any of these instruments? No. But, do I understand more what it is like to be a student? Absolutely!
Best Wishes and Happy Summer to All!
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