A familiar scenario –
Teacher: “I’m excited to teach today!”
“I just love my students!”
“I love my job!”
“I love the piano!”
“I love music!”
“I want to instill value in the next generation!”
“I am so excited to teach today!”
Student shows up and sits down at the piano.
Opens the book.
No practice at all.
Teacher is frustrated.
There’s hope, though.
Maybe the student will crack open his book next week and practice the notes on the page.
Teacher delivers an inspiring message to the student, challenges him, then sends him on his way.
It’s lesson day again.
Teacher: “I am so excited to teach today.”
Student comes in.
The teacher is thrilled.
Student sits at the piano, opens his book, places his hands on the keys.
No practice yet again.
Teacher is frustrated, but musters enough energy and enough encouragement, from within, to say, “All is well. We’ll try again next week.”
Teacher is hopeful, and as the week presses on begins to get excited again.
It’s lesson day.
Teacher: “I am so excited to teach today!”
Student comes in and sits down at the piano.
So, why do we do it?
Why do we put ourselves in this situation?
We’re trained musicians.
We’ve studied our instrument and become experts in our craft.
Why do we do it??
Why pour into students who, week after week, show up unprepared?
What’s the reason?
Why teach if it’s yielding the same results over, and over again?
Well, I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you why I do it.
Because I know I have something important to say.
One phrase that I speak to a student who is having a bad day (or an awesome day), or experiencing something traumatic, might inspire and encourage her.
At some point, I’m going to say something that rings in that kid’s head from now through the rest of her life.
She’s going to know that Mr. Chris loves piano, Mr. Chris loves music, and Mr. Chris loves her!
Yes, it’s frustrating when students don’t practice.
It’s frustrating when they come to lesson after lesson unprepared, wasting our time and their parents’ hard-earned money.
And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say we should look for ways to encourage our students to practice.
And, not only them… But to encourage their parents to be more actively involved in their child’s music education, so that they’re not wasting their money, and so that their child is actually learning.
But, at the same time, even though your students are not always prepared, keep pouring into them.
They love you.
They respect you.
You may not witness it every single time you see the student, but keep up the outstanding work you’re doing.
Teach them that music is important.
That music is a way to express themself.
Music is a gift that keeps giving.
One day, your student might just end up… Not in a concert hall or in front of thousands of people, not on the Naxos recording label…
But, at the local retirement facility, playing for the elderly.
Or, at a local community event raising funds for folks affected by a recent natural disaster.
Or, playing for a church worship service.
Or, just playing for their family at home, or for their own enjoyment.
What you’re doing is not going unnoticed.
You’re doing important work.
Keep it up!
Keep pouring into your students’ lives and know that you’re making a difference.
I hope this encourages you today.
I’d love to hear from you!
Why do you teach?
How do you stay inspired when your students don’t practice?
Please leave a comment below.