Student and Teacher

I’ve been a student for the past… seventeen years. Wow. And I’ll be a student for two more as I work towards my masters degree. I’ve always felt like teaching would be a way to stay in school, and I suppose it is, but being a student feels much more comfortable than being a teacher. (That could have something to do with being a student for seventeen years and only having been a teacher for three weeks.)

Being a first-year music teacher is frightening, and demanding, and exciting, but one thing that does not surprise me is that it makes me into even more of a student. Not only am I learning about the craft of teaching, but I’m learning more about music. If you want to become master of something, try teaching it. There’s nothing for learning like teaching. For instance, I am much more familiar with Haydn’s Surprise Symphony than before. If you’d like a surprise, just listen. Haydn was tired of people falling asleep during his concerts…

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My Midsummer Night’s Dream that I will survive today

Today is the day. Today is teaching demonstration day.

It’s a class of 13 students, and I’m nervous about what they do and do not already know. If they’re not familiar enough with solfege, this lesson won’t begin to make sense to them. And I’ll have to adjust, and adjusting on the fly is not one of my strong suits. I’m much better at planning.

The lesson is centered around A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s about the way Mendelssohn used minor keys in his incidental music to represent the fairy kingdom, and major music to represent the lovers and the human world. The three main themes in his Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream are commonly interpreted as the fairies, the lovers, and Bottom the donkey-headed clown. You can hear the fairies fluttering around in e-minor, the lovers swooning in B Major, and Bottom’s donkey bray.

I have to keep reminding myself that my value as a human being does not rest on my ability to teach. God loves me and will continue to even if I totally botch this. But still, I hope it goes well.