Music and creativity were part and parcel of my own childhood. Making music, art, writing and creatively crafting gave me a deep sense of aliveness and presence.
It was joyful.
It was fun.
The sense of joy that creativity as a life affirming endeavour cultivates is what I want for my students, too. If nothing else, I try to be an example of how a creative life is an engaged, caring and curious life, and therefore a life well lived.
This desire for music to be a joyous experience for my students has informed how I do what I do, and why we do what we do.
First and foremost, I believe a joyful musical experience requires a sense of safety: an environment that is encouraging, accepting of mistakes as part of the learning process, and where process is valued over product. Learning the skills to produce music that sounds good and is technically apt is part of the process of music making.
For me, this has also meant that relationship is of utmost importance. Time and time again, educational researchers emphasise just how important relationships are in the learning environment. A safe, friendly relationship where the child feels valued while their growing skills are celebrated, and guidance towards improving skills dignifies the child are part and parcel of creating a safe and joyful environment for musical learning.
To that end, creating a strong musical foundation requires an ongoing understanding of both musical and childhood development. Creating age appropriate learning experiences that engage and delight the child is another core component of my approach to music tuition.
I’m continuously researching and learning in order to understand how I might best be able to support my students’ musical development.
I see music as an intrinsic right of every human being. I’ve written an ode to that here. We have celebrated, mourned, prayed and created community with music from the very beginning. It’s part of our DNA.
Modern research has begun to look at just how important rich musical experiences are for the growing brain. Musical activities seem to have a profound effect on brain development.
My aim, always, is for your child to have a wonderful experience of music and themselves as music makers.
Music is a skill we can all learn.
It is valuable.
It is rich.
And it brings us closer to our own humanity.