Do you ever have days, or maybe weeks, where you just feel like giving up? It might be a bad lesson, a full on week or a sense of what do I do now.
I felt a bit like that today. I felt unsure what to do next and a bit in need of inspiration. Some days I just lack inspiration for no real reason at all.
But I am not someone to dwell on that kind of thing otherwise I would probably give up. I love my job, I know there is always a solution and it is important to keep going.
And I always remember the one thing that keeps me going – Here’s To The Crazy Ones.
Being A Music Teacher
Being a Music Teacher isn’t always easy, especially in the current climate. We are up against it like all staff to keep results, ensure progress and meet targets. Teaching can be tough, but yet it is all I have ever wanted to do. Well I say that, I do have other dreams and ideas, but teaching is who I am right now and it is what I love.
But loving it doesn’t make it easy. Cuts, demands, long hours, all the usual stuff. I guess for me I get worried about what to do next. What ideas can I come up with to get more students learning instruments, singing in choirs and taking GCSE or A-Level? I start worrying about the future, will I have enough saxophones in the Big Band or enough altos in the choir. It is natural to worry, but it is important to then find solutions. For me, the only option is to keep going.
I need to sort myself out!
If you were to ask me on a day like today what I am going to do to sort myself out, I might not always have the answer. But one thing I do on a day like today is think and search my brain. What keeps me going?
I was just in the car being chauffeur to my eldest son and it dawned on me. I started to remember what keeps me going.
So what keeps me going?
It’s the thought of Matt who started learning the clarinet in Year 9 and ended up taking A-Level Music and playing Mozart’s Clarinet concerto.
It’s the memory of climbing the Great Wall of China with a bunch of lads from school on a trip of a lifetime that came from nowhere.
It’s thinking back to those wonderful Girls Choir rehearsals where 100 girls turned up to sing and make music.
It’s the memory of hot pies, a dreamcoat, a Beast and a Princess.
And then there are those moments in lessons where a student finally gets the Circle of Fifths. Or the times when I have heard great compositions and watched students get excited about their work.
I am kept going when I think back to Amy who started singing in shows with me when she was 8 and then left last year to study Musical Theatre.
It’s watching Livvy play the guitar and listening to Ted play really loud and high!
It’s singing WannaBe an Open Evening and Hit Me Baby One More Time at Prize Evening.
It’s laughing and joking at the top of the Eiffel Tower with Isobel & Emily.
It’s thinking back to fireworks at Disneyland, Carols in the Church, O Holy Night and Something About December.
It’s remembering when Tom played that amazing solo and Will produced that incredible composition.
It’s thinking back to Mrs Lovett & Sweeney doing Little Priest and Fern singing On My Own.
It’s the moments in the hall where magic happens and rehearsals in the PA where music just rules. It’s early mornings, long days and weekends.
It’s sitting and eating pizza in the music room before a concert and travelling on the coach in France.
It’s watching the girls sing with all their soul and watching the boys give it their all.
But most of all it’s seeing a student turn up to orchestra for the first time, instrument in hand, ready to go. They don’t even know how to play a note, but they are there ready to learn, ready to play. Ready to leap into a new world of music that will change their life forever! Those moments are my favourite by far, that is the real magic of music teaching!
Nothing keeps me going like memories of all the times where students were just amazing and where music brought them together. I have so many memories. They aren’t all big and grand, but there are so many of them.
You might be starting out in teaching and it might be tough. But soon you will have these memories that you can call upon when it is tough.
Here’s To The Crazy Ones (by Steve Jobs)
Here’s To The Crazy Ones
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough
to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do.
It’s all about the students, those who have been and those that are to come. It isn’t always easy to teach and keep going. There are days when you want to give up and just do something else. But then you stop for a second and think back to all the wonderful times you have spent working with young people and you remember why you do it.
Music changes lives and whilst today I have felt like I am running out of ideas & inspiration, all I need to do is remember all those students and it makes me want to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Enjoy your memories and enjoy making new ones.
Here’ To The Crazy Ones – our students!