How impressed am I? Let me count the ways…August 8, 2012
It has occurred to me that when you are a teacher or a mentor you might see a student or group of students for a time period and then maybe not again for quite some time. This happens if you are teaching at a workshop or clinic whereby people sign up to study something they either know a little bit about, nothing about or perhaps they already know a lot about the topic/subject. Most gratifying to me, is the experience of then seeing some of those individuals who (after a certain time period) improve, blossom, grow and gain confidence and skill. Yes, they blossom! How very exciting to witness this!! Perhaps since I am not a parent I feel this sensation of pride and emotion even more strongly when I observe this growth in both young and grownup students. I am indeed impressed!
This past week I have been teaching at a music camp in the Yukon, a place that I have grown to love dearly. Certainly I love the natural beauty here but it is truly the people who have engrained themselves in my heart. I know I am not the only one to have had this experience in Whitehorse. It’s a very special place indeed, rich with history, culture, art and artists galore.
The music camp I taught had a broad range of music: jazz, classical, rock, fiddle, classical, ukulele music, percussion ensembles, brass band and more. It also had a broad range of ages since the camp is for young children right through to adults of any age who love music. What a wonderful opportunity for young kids to be exposed to a little bit of everything and perhaps that goes for adults too. I am a musician and yet I heard things I’ve never heard before at this camp. Here are some things that impressed and delighted me:
- Seeing a little girl who had never held a violin before yet by the end of the week she has begun her music journey on this difficult instrument.
- Seeing a teenager who had never played electric bass before learn how to play in a band and demonstrate this beautifully on performance day as she and the others enjoyed the “sum is greater that the parts” concept.
- Finding out that as one of the children was learning to play jazz piano that her mom was in another room learning to play percussion. Fun stuff!
I was encouraged to hear some adults who had been at a particular level of ability on their instruments demonstrate that no matter what the age, you can improve in dramatic ways.
I suppose I’m impressed by the fact that no matter what the age, we can improve our skills as musicians. It’s apparently never too late to start and certainly music for the little ones will help pave the way for their exciting discoveries of music with its varied genres and styles. It’s there waiting to be discovered, studied, composed, explored and shared. How wonderful!
Now I will have a few days of rest and recovery and I will (hopefully) be an effective teacher/mentor in another music camp. I know already the experience of sharing music will fill me with surprise and delight and that already makes me happy…