Can music teachers help with navigating the global changes in a positive way?
Consider these ideas as you step back and start planning for next school year!
The article is written with Suzuki music teachers in mind but my hope is that all music teachers can take on these ideas.
Music teachers are stepping up to the plate beautifully during these times.
Although the times are uncertain, I have been so impressed with all the resources and ideas shared between music teachers.
In fact I have been learning much more from all of you guys, thank you!
And yet, I feel we can take one more step forward.
Let me offer a slightly different idea for Suzuki group class activity which you could apply in any music classroom.
In times like this both teachers and students need a way to connect much more than anything.
In any teaching situation, the human element needs to be stronger.
Can charity work be added as a part of your Suzuki program to make your studio stand out?
We need to start looking at us as leaders not just educators. This is really what music is about!
The base of Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy is building beautiful hearts before building musicianship. We must strive for educating the whole child. And although there are many way we do this through music, we must not stop there.
These days we suffer economically. Many small private businesses will close. Many of the families in your program will be out of work. The global politics have us wonder what the next day would bring and what new challenge we would have to face.
Your students will be affected by these changes.
The only way to bring more meaning to their learning in times like this is to become a part of the changes.
And then become a positive influence.
Instead of worrying if your students would continue lessons, be an active part in helping that family! This is how they will stay and they will have a purpose behind the music.
But How Could I Do This?
If you plant the seed of compassion at an early age, it could go a long way.
Often the smallest gestures mean the most. The ideas are endless. They do not have to be big.
Something as simple as donating a dollar to a local charity would help.
Starting a Facebook donation campaign may be something you enjoy.
Engaging your families to donate a meal to another family who has lost their job would be rewarding.
Directing your families in a group class to a certain cause or charity will be inspiring. Coming up with the idea together even more motivating.
Having your older group class come up with a volunteering project they would like to do would be fun.
I encourage you to think about adding a charity idea to your Suzuki group classes and your virtual concerts.
Let your parents help you!
Once you open up this idea for discussion, you will see that your parents and perhaps older students in the program will have ideas for helping. As they know their community, the best ideas will probably come directly from them!
When embarking on social ideas, it is best to start with the ideas and opinions of the people from the community you represent. So suggesting an idea and not a specific project may open a door for the best suggestions.
Even though it is not directed specifically to playing, it could be a fantastic Suzuki group class project that will last in your student’s hearts for years to come.
How to go about it:
- I would send my parents an email talking about the Suzuki philosophy. Remind them that Suzuki’s main idea is creating good hearts over creating good musicians.
- Explain that in the line of today’s situation we are taking this idea and helping people around us not through the means of music.
- Best, ask them to come up with the best ideas in the community you live in.
- Ask if there are any projects they would like to start to support their child and the local community.
Just One Example
I teach a public school orchestra program right now. We have experienced some social problems and unfortunately the school had a high suicide rate last year. My students have wanted to use the concerts as a way to talk about social justice.
The concerts now all have a benefit purpose. Our concerts are free but we have opportunities for concert goers to donate to a cause after. We also choose music that is related to a theme and then talking about it as a part of the concert introductions. We choose the theme depending on what is happening in the community.
With the climate right now there will be many similar ideas that could be implemented as a face-to-face project or online.
And these ideas could actually be implemented at a private studio easier as you don’t need to run into school policies. You may have a smaller outreach but much more freedom.
The Best Excuse?
It is so easy to read this post and say “this is a nice idea but it doesn’t apply to my teaching”
Yes, it does. And if it doesn’t apply directly you can find way to apply it.
The very best idea is not to follow the tips in this post but to create your own, even better!
Remember, most kids during these times need two things:
- Empowering project
Any way you can think of incorporating this into your studio it will benefit your whole program!
Any time you can connect specific music skills empowering students in your studio or music program will be ever growing. No matter the economic difficulties.
We all have different experiences but we are all facing uncertainty at the moment.
You may say…
But I am already worried that my students will quit at the recession!
We all are. But there is something important to remember:
People quit a service. They do not quit their community.
Then You become their community! This is why community projects are so important.
We must always develop beautiful hearts!
What thoughts do you have about your program? Share in the comment section.
If you teach in another country, please share in the comments how things have been for you and how you are doing distance learning.