Primary teachers do such an amazing job and I became one as I really wanted to get in at the beginning of a child’s educational journey. I remember my own introduction to music happened quite by chance when my father spotted a single manual Phillips organ at an Electrical Trade Show when I was about 7 years old. There were several free lessons if you bought the keyboard and I remember being a bit non-plussed about it but agreeing. Who would have known that this small decision would lead to university degrees and a long teaching career! Luckily I was also supported by some great music teachers along the way and a brilliant Leicestershire County Music Organization http://www.lsso.co.uk/ that gave me some fantastic opportunities.
So I’m saying to all primary teachers that they really do hold the keys to children’s futures and that the smallest comment or decision they make can have far-reaching consequences.
One great example that happened to me was when I was getting ready for a concert in St. David’s Hall in Cardiff with about five hundred primary children taking part. I needed some large percussion such as timpani and tubular bells and these were brought over from the store room in a van that I had hired. I was busy sorting stands and raising and lowering bits of stage when a tall boy came over and said hello. I recognized him vaguely and he reminded me that I had taught him about ten years previously. We had a nice conversation and I asked him how he came to be moving the instruments for me. He replied that he was just helping out to get some money as he was going away to music college the following September. It turned out that he was intending to study percussion but the interesting point of the conversation which stopped me in my tracks was this… he told me that his love of percussion had been set in motion by me giving him a small drum part to play in a school concert once! Well, this took a while to sink in because who would have thought that such a tiny, seemingly insignificant act could have resulted in a lifelong love of music and a possible career.
These are the things that make teaching worthwhile!
We often get bogged down in paperwork, marking and all sorts of other time-consuming activities but let us remember how important our jobs are in nurturing future generations and giving them the love of music that contributes so much to becoming a well-rounded adult.