If you read my last two posts (A Story - pt 1 and A Story - pt 2) you were able to travel with me through my formative years, and seeing why I have a passion for teaching. The past 5 years I have tried to develop my philosophy as an educator and singer and now I embark on more applications. As I learn about education and the art of teaching the more it surprises me at how polarized education is currently. There are many proofs that support music, art and discovery of the arts but still our current systems lean towards perfection with a sprinkle of 'stress'.
I continue to be inspired by Charlotte Mason (a 19th century educator and philosopher) who said, "Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking - the strain would be too great - but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest."
I teach a very specialized skill - to sing - but through this skill my students gain confidence, find their unique voice and practice empathy (alongside many other skills we need to live). This week is my studio recital and I am realizing more and more how important this vital interest, that Miss Mason referred to, is in my teaching. I have, for the past 4 years of recitals, had my students support their song with a creative visual representation. Being able to bring to life complicated ideas such as hurt or grief but also joy and nature has been a rich experience for my singers. The amount of thought and time for these creations varies but the student is allowed to interact with the ideas of their song in a new way.
As I continue my journey as a teacher the ideas my students come into contact with are plenty. Primarily we work on good habits of singing - focusing on a free and easy sound. Secondary we work on life. This recital we will be engaging in life as it is around us in nature but also the way we as people think and question. The ideas that are layered on top of our habits are great and we can give them our vital interest!