DVMTA members gathered at The Music Store to preview the Cavalcade 2020 duet music. This meeting is always fun as teachers sight read through the selected pieces for this upcoming ensemble event, and choose groups for their students to perform in. Lots of toe-tapping and smiles, as we played our way through the "Dance Party" themed duets. Thank you to the Cavalcade Committee for organizing, and to The Music Store for hosting.
Last month, I reminded you all that the ability to teach music is one of your “superpowers”! Dr. Dave and Josh Thye validated this assumption at our September general meeting with their powerful and inspirational presentation on “The Character-Building Aspects of Performance”. I have already begun to share their pearls of wisdom with my students as they get ready to perform in the Music Marathon on Nov. 2nd and at the Original Composition Festival on Nov. 16th and 17th. It is so rewarding to watch the students blossom and grow in their confidence and skills as they prepare for these events! It makes me so grateful to be part of an organization that offers so many wonderful performance opportunities for my students!
After being similarly inspired by the Thye’s presentation, a fellow DVMTA member sent me a related article about helping kids focus on their strengths, improve relationships and build good character. The article was written by Dr. Charles Fay who is well-known in the education community for his ground-breaking “Love and Logic” strategies for developing healthy parent-child and teacher-child relationships as a pathway to improving a child’s behavior and character. In his article, Dr. Fay emphasizes the need to carefully prioritize in order to survive the busy, chaotic lives so many of us lead to keep up with today’s world. After years of observation and research, Dr. Fay very concisely rates and examines the importance of homework, grades, healthy extracurricular activities such as music lessons and sports, chores and parent/child relationships on building good character. On a scale from 1 – 10, he rates these factors as follows: homework – 3, grades – 5, extracurricular activities – 8, chores – 10 and parent/child relationships – 10. Wow! Yet another validation of the importance of the job we do!
As I reflect back on what I have learned this month about the relationship between music and the building of good character, I am ever more determined to do my part in keeping DVMTA strong and active for the sake of our students! I can do this by volunteering to serve on the board or on one or more of our various event committees. I can encourage my piano families to participate in one or more of our events. I can share what I know about the important benefits that can be gained from playing a musical instrument with my students and their parent so that they can see the value of taking lessons and participating in performance opportunities. I can do all these things knowing that I am contributing to the healthy development of the students who sit on our piano benches each week. Are you with me?
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Our first General Meeting for members was a great success. We were privileged to have Dave and Josh Thye present "The Character Building Aspects of Performing." The father and son duo are very accomplished conductors and musicians, and shared many of their philosophies and experiences as they have taught and continue to teach. We appreciated their words of wisdom, they are an inspiration to teachers and students.
Seeing “Avengers – Endgame” this past weekend reminded me how prevalent the “superhero” franchise has been in our culture for many years now. I guess the fanaticism comes from the fact that there is something romantic and awe-inspiring about beings who have special powers that enable them to make things right with the world. Although some superheroes like Superman do not belong to the human race, many started out as just normal people who by some other-worldly fluke of nature became endowed with their special powers – think Captain America and Antman. Are superheroes the only ones with superpowers though? I think not!
While I was still teaching general music in the public schools, I received a T-shirt in lieu of flowers after a third-grade music performance. It was one of my favorite “teacher” gifts ever! The shirt said, “I am a Music Teacher. What’s Your Superpower?” I thought, “I have a superpower? Of course, I have a superpower!” Having to leave videos for substitute teachers was enough of a reminder to me that what I was doing was special and very, very few people could step in and do my job!
If you are reading this, you, too, have been endowed with superpowers! You are a music teacher. You can do something special that not many people are able to do! You are giving your students a true gift when you sit down at the piano with them each week. In addition, don’t forget that DVMTA is here to support you and intensify those superpowers by offering free professional growth opportunities for you at our general meetings and fun, inexpensive experiences for your students! (See articles below) As you continue to navigate through this year and encounter problems in your studio caused by all of the various things that are competing for your students’ time and attention, just remember how special and important you are and put those superpowers to work! You are a music superhero!
Carolyn Rooder, DVMTA President
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