Music Education: Let the Beginner you join the fun

When we started the process to be a musician, it started with excitement. What happened to it? It is time to bring it back in music education.

Think back to the day you made the decision to participate in band, orchestra, or choir. Reflect on the feeling you had the moment you received your instrument for the very first time. The excitement. The ignorant-filled joy that consumed your soul. It was an amazing time. Music education was fun.

For me, it was sixth grade. Sitting in the old band room of Browning Springs Middle School, waiting for Mr. Murphy to let me – and the rest of the class – to open the case. The anticipation crawled through my body in an attempt to squash all patience. Finally, the moment arrived and I was taught how to put my Yamaha 23 Alto Saxophone together. And then how to put it back in the case.

After school, I ran to my Mamaw’s house, just around the corner from school, and dropped everything on the front porch ready to take over the world of saxophone. Of course, my Mamaw came out side just in time to tell me to get inside before something bad happened.

From there, it was fun. Sure, it was work, but I enjoyed the steps. Learning songs that consisted of all of three notes. It was the start of an amazing journey. Work was involved. Practicing. Tests for first chair. Scale tests. Auditions. All-District. Solo and Ensemble. Marching and concert band festivals. All-State. College Scholarships. It was fun, but tons of work.

Then came college. Daily practicing was required, as well as music theory and history. But, all you want to do is enjoy friends, social activities, the results of the most recent campus beautification project. Intramural sports. Weekend trips to the lake. Yet, to be successful, you had to work.

Then came the real job.

After graduation, you looked for a teaching job. Then, the fun was pulled out and the responsibility of teaching the content became paramount. The daily struggles of reminding students the difference between B-natural and B-flat on clarinet or trumpet. Teaching the same drill formation because of the one or two players in the trombone section that just seem lost.

It became…..work. And the work was hard. And then the fear of everything may have overtaken you. There is a piece of music you really think your students should play, but that time signature of 5/8 will just be too challenging. But the piece is amazing and worth the work. Or, then there is another piece that is just amazing, but the second clarinets playing 16th notes over the break is not ideal.

That is a problem. Let the Beginner back in.

What would happen if you allowed The Beginner you back in to Music Education you? How would things be different? Instead of dreading the section in 5/8, remember the time you played the piece and the fun that you experienced. Remember the moments you spent on the marching band field and the joy you experienced after a good run. Recall the fun of moments of putting your instrument together for the first time.

How could The Beginner you change The Music Education you? What would happen if your showed more joy during rehearsal? How would your students respond? Would your group improve because your teaching improved?

We started the journey because of the joy music gave us. Why not let the joy and fun of music show in your teacher?

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