en I enrolled at Michigan State, I thought that I wanted to become a teacher. Today, with almost four semesters of coursework completed, combined with summer teaching experiences, I know that teaching is my true vocation. I am happiest and most fulfilled when I am in a musical education atmosphere. And even though others tell me that I’ll never be rich as a teacher, I respond with “It depends on your definition of ‘rich’.” My goal is to become a secondary school instrumental music teacher. I won’t, however, be satisfied being just “any” music teacher. Naturally, I want to impart knowledge and skills to my students; however that is only part of teaching. I want to leave my students with lessons from their music education that will benefit them throughout their lives.
The lessons I learned from my music education became a part of the fabric of my life. I’m not referring to learning how to read music or how to play a song on an instrument; I am referring to the intrinsic nature of the learning process itself, or the “what [else] happens while you are learning.” Just as learning facts and computations extends beyond the classroom, and allows for entrance into a profession, the value of a music education continues even if the student ceases to be engaged in musical activities.
I believe that there is a musician in everyone, and that every student can benefit from classroom music education. How many of my students will become famous musicians? I believe that I will have some exceptional students during my career, but producing music phenoms is not the point of a music education. Every student has the ability to learn and to improve their ability. Music provides a framework for life lessons that will benefit students throughout their lives: students learn discipline in their study of music, while they explore emotion, creation, and collaboration that are not present in any other subject, but which are profound in music. Music classrooms are inherently places of great collaboration, where the performance of one individual impacts all others; if a student is ill-prepared and not punctual, the entire ensemble suffers. Success is largely reliant on teamwork, as it is in any profession. The future profession of the student doesn’t matter; the lessons learned in a music classroom remain.