Why I Love Teaching Children To Sing
Teaching Is Much More Than Just a Job
Teaching is not just a job to me - it's my joy! I absolutely love it. I would still teach children to sing (and play the piano) even if I were not compensated. There are other ways to be compensated other than with money.For an example, there have been times when I just did not feel up to par and wanted to cancel teaching for the day.
Maybe I felt a bug coming on and my energy level was low, or perhaps the day I am scheduled to teach I get a phone call that leaves me worried about a family member. Whatever the reason for my wanting to cancel lessons I almost always decide against it and go ahead and greet my young singers with a smile.
I always end up feeling better after I do some teaching. It 's actually wonderful therapy for me. What a blessing it is to be called to teach. Yes, teaching is so much more than just a job.
Those Who Can, Do - Those Who Can't, Teach?
I don't know who started this myth but I sure would like to have a word or two with that person. I know from personal experience that this just isn't so. I have been a professional singer and pianist all my life, done very well at it and have combined a career of both teaching and performing. So I do not want to hear that "Those who can do and those who can't teach" This is absurd. I am both an award-winning singer/pianist and an award-winning teacher of piano and voice.
And the great OperaticTenor, Luciano Pavarotti, is hailed as the greatest tenor of his time and loved teaching voice.
If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them.
The #1 Reason Why I Love Teaching Children
It is really very simple - I love teaching children because I love each and every child. They are a constant reminder to me that learning music should be fun. I Keep lessons easy enough so the child does not feel that they lack in talent or understanding, yet challenging enough to promote growth and development.
For me, to teach is a calling, not a job. To know that I hold a seed in my hand, and depending on how I nourish and care for that seed, it will grow to become a flower.
I am by nature a positive and nurturing person. Perhaps that has something to do with why I love to teach. To think that what I say or do will influence a child's life is huge. Young people come to me with little or no musical knowledge or experience and it is up to me to introduce them for the first time to what music is. It just has to be a wonderful, positive and rewarding experience for them.
When teaching adults I hear the same thing repeatedly. "I hated my music lessons as a child and begged to quit. Now I wish I would have stuck with it." This is tragic to me. Music lessons should be a fun and rewarding experience for both children and adults.
Teachers should remind themselves that the very singer or pianist they are training may grow up to be the next Singing Sensation, or Concert Pianist. I treat them all as if they will be.
I Learn From My Students
I never cease to learn something new and wonderful with every lesson I give. I may have taught the same vocal techniques a thousand and one times but still each child teaches me something new. This is yet another reason why I love teaching children. I remain completely open and welcome whatever new information comes to me.
My calling offers me a way to give back to the world. I have such a wonderful opportunity through teaching to use my knowledge, talent (from God) and experience.
Music can be healing to both the body and the soul. As a teacher in this field, how marvelous it is' to help others learn to apply this through singing, piano and music appreciation.
And finally, as a senior, teaching children keeps my mind active and my spirit young.
These are some of the reasons why I sincerely do love teaching children music and all that it entails.
I am indeed blessed and very grateful for the opportunity.
What I believe
- Music is a powerful method of learning for children.
- Children learn to communicate through singing.
- Performing when young builds self-confidence and eradicates fear.
- Elements of music activate the cerebellum.
- Singing teaches self-expression without concern of criticism and judgment.
- Learning music helps boost academic performance.
- Music teaches concentration.
- Singing and performing is fun.
- Music fosters creativity and individuality.
- Music education fosters discipline.
Confirmed Studies Regarding Children And Music Education
A study by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, as published in a 2004 issue of Psychological Science, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons.
Schellenberg provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six-year-olds, drama lessons (to see if exposure to arts in general versus just music had an effect) to a second group of six-year-olds, and no lessons to a third group. The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade.
Surprisingly, the children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group didn’t have the same increase in IQ, but did experience increased social behavior benefits not seen in the music-only group.
The Brain Works Harder
Research indicates the brain of a musician, even a young one, works differently than that of a non-musician. “There’s some good neuro science research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain,” says Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years.
My life has been richly rewarded through being a music teacher. Music gives us a better understanding of ourselves. Teaching lifts me up and out of my narrow self.
During the most difficult time of my life it was teaching others that helped me make it through one day and then another. Today I owe my own sanity and strength to music and to the gift of teaching.
I even saved the life of a young man without realizing I had done so. I invite you to read about this experience. Saving Edward's Life.
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. ~K. Patricia Cross
© 2010 Audrey Hunt
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