I’ve been trying for years to get N to appreciate music other than rock, and it’s not been an easy task. I still don’t think the appreciation is necessarily there – he still moans on the rare occasion when I put on classical music. But he’s been learning and taking in lots about musicians through the centuries and is now more open to finding and listening to new bands on the internet or through the tv.
It seems I have his music teacher at school to thank for this.
Sorry to all his teachers past and present, but N has decreed that the music teacher who comes in for choir, recorder and general music lessons, is the most inspiring teacher he’s had.
Before myself, my family wasn’t musical at all. Well, my dad played a bit of trumpet as a boy, my mum yearned for a piano she never had. But I ended up playing 3 instruments, and a flurry of others I could hack a tune on if I tried, as well as singing in the school choir. The OH had some guitar lessons as a boy but that was about his limit. I’ve never even heard him sing (he doesn’t do singing).
N takes after me, more than the OH. He loves to sing, even before he joined the school choir. He’ll bang on his home made drums to the beat of music that’s on. And he’ll play on the piano and it won’t sound too bad considering he has no idea what he’s playing. But I can’t get him to have music lessons and learn to play an instrument. I’d love him to give it a go because learning music and getting to play in an orchestra or band provides so many opportunities as well as being fun and sociable.
So I’m pleased that he decided to join the school choir. I’m not sure why, but he and a couple of friends joined at the end of year 1. This is his second year of singing in it and he’s loved every minute. He’ll sing the songs at home, as well as his own made up songs, listen to them on the radio and via Alexa. Singing makes him happy.
Last year, they did a bit of recorder in school. They were all given their own recorder and while his finger accuracy and tone wasn’t perfect, he got the gist of it and enjoyed it. In year 3, they did a bit near the start of the year, but since then it’s been mostly music history education. But he’s enjoyed spouting facts he’s learnt back at me, so he’s obviously taking it in. We’ve also had to work out via the internet which music they’ve been introduced to because N can’t always remember. He’s been impressed that I’ve been able to work out the music of Beethoven, Handel and Elgar that they’ve been learning about.
It’s been down to the music teacher for all these things. She’s a professional folk musician, who’s performed until recently, at festivals, gigs and has also taught for years. Performance skills aren’t always transferable to teaching but she’s obviously inspiring my 8 year old and has done since he started in her classes.
Why’s she in his inspiring teachers list?
Is it because she’s an amazing musician? I’m not sure how much he’s heard her playing, but he’s certainly impressed that they’re being taught by a performing musician.
Is the teaching really good, and can he understand everything? He can certainly replay pretty much everything they’ve been taught, so she’s catching their interest and keeping him listening.
But mostly, it’s because of who she knows and the stories she tells.
Yes, N just wants gossip about musicians he’s never heard of before. She knows a lot of other musicians and has lots of stories from tour to tell them. Of rock and roll days gone past. Of bands like The Who, who we now have to listen to. Of Welsh opera singers – whom I’ve been trying to google to work out who the pictures are of because N can’t remember their name.
N loves anything real. Any learning he can apply to practical life. And to see and hear what a musician’s life is like makes it more real and approachable. He’s certainly been inspired and I hope that love of music continues.
Now I might need to have a word with the music teacher to see if she can persuade him to start playing an instrument other than the recorder.
Who’s your child’s favourite and most inspiring teacher and why?