Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

6.07.2011

Musical Beginnings

The book we gave each of our students, and a program
from the recital.

One of my greatest joys is the time I spend on Tuesdays and Thursdays teaching "my children" (aka students) violin and piano. From the boy whose favorite song is always the one he is currently learning to the girl who is always shocked and saddened when her lesson has come to an end, my day is always brightened by these kids. Sure, I hear "Twinkle, Twinkle" over and over again, and I listen to more wrong notes than I care to admit, and I am constantly messing with little violins that go out of tune. I honestly don't mind these things at all, however, because they are the rustic stepping stones towards a beautiful, polished gem.



I am not just teaching scales, theory, songs, and posture--these are the means to an end of respect, diligence, enthusiasm, virtue, and--yes--musicality. As I challenge each one of my children, they also teach me--and I love the simple, beautiful lessons I learn from them.





So, you'll allow me to brag for just a bit, won't you? Last Friday was Lauren and my recital for our students (which makes three recitals in the past week, five in the last month, and nine in the last five months for our family....), and it was a special occasion. Each student performed the usual classical, fiddle, folk, or sacred piece by the usual composers--and they did a marvelous job. But interspersed amongst these selections, each student would take the stage again, to perform an original composition. For the last year, we have worked with each child to compose his own piece, write it down, learn, and memorize it. There were works that reminded me of Debussy, pieces that sounded like they could have been played at an old-fashioned dance, and even a few songs with lyrics.





Knowing how hard they had all worked, Lauren and I worked with a printer friend to put together a book of all our students' compositions and presented them each with one after the recital. It was a fabulous moment! Working with children--whether you teach music, teach Sunday School class, babysit, or have your own precious little ones--is one of the most exciting ways to brighten your corner.

Last year, I sat down to compose my "teaching philosophy"--why I do what I do. My teaching philosophy for music stems from my life philosophy: “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee (Psalms 71:17-18)!” I desire to glorify God in this wonderful medium He has created and sanctified: music. Thus, I hope to inspire and train students to worship God with music.

Seeing the importance of good arts in society, churches, family, and individuals, I also desire each of my students to acquire a lifelong passion and aptitude for music. I do my best to thoroughly and excellently equip them in theory, music reading, music history, technique, performance, improvisation, composition, and ear training, which means that I myself must be constantly improving in these areas! I identify with the runner who quipped, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure”: God made me musical, and when I play and teach, I feel His pleasure. I am fulfilling what God has called me to right now and preparing for what He will call me to in the future.

Through the discipline of learning a musical instrument, I hope to teach my students to become Godly, productive members of society, whether or not they become “professional” musicians. Most importantly, I hope to directly or indirectly build His kingdom by having a Godly and convicting influence on my students and their parents through my words, attitudes, and reaction to difficult situations. I teach to bring glory to God.

Do what you do this week purposefully and joyfully!


First picture: Mikaela
All other pictures: Jennifer (Mama)

4 comments:

  1. Amen! I echo your post and sentiments completely. :) And congratulations to you for putting together what sounds like a very successful studio!

    Blessings,
    ~Melody

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  2. Mikaela, I loved reading your life and teaching philosophy! I believe God places us in certain realms for a specific purpose and we have those older, younger and "our age" whom God calls us to influence for His glory. Thank you for doing this with your students and their families! I am sure the recital was fabulous - a testimony to two great teachers! And, the original compositions and book ideas were so great. :)

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  3. very awesome! I need to do a report on my recital...

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  4. Great post and very inspiring! I also teach music (just as of the past year) and feel like I have so much left to learn in how to teach my students more effectively! But it's always so good to reminded of what the real reason is that I'm teaching - it's ultimately to bring glory to our Father's Name. I am asking Him to teach through me!! after all, the Inventor of music would probably be the best music teacher ever, right?! :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kate Bridges from TX :)

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