Following is an article I wrote recently for our local association’s newsletter:
With the touch of a button or the click of a mouse almost anyone anywhere in the world has access to a vast anthology of music. Indeed, we are subjected to the sounds of music whether we are walking through a store, eating at a restaurant or riding in an elevator. Music is everywhere. This begs the question, “Whose music?” Whose music blares from the stereo in the car driving down the street? Whose music gently lulls a little one to sleep at night? Whose music wafts to the rafters in concert halls throughout the world? Whose music vividly recalls the footage it accompanied on our favorite films? The composers and musicians of today are the students of yesteryear. Conversely, the students of today are the composers and musicians of tomorrow.
When ten-year old Ryan walks in for his lesson on Tuesday evenings and eagerly slides onto the bench to play me the latest tune he’s figured out by ear, through what eyes do I see him? The eyes of a teacher who is intent on sticking to a set plan for the lesson? Or the eyes of one who wants to inspire and equip a young boy who has the potential to influence the culture of generations to come? The 18th century Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher once said, “Give me the making of the songs of a nation and I care not who writes its laws.” As one who is actively involved in local and state politics, I find myself nodding in agreement. While politicians may be recognized for a time and certainly make a profound difference in the operation of our society, their influence is primarily external. The melody and words that flow from the song-writer’s pen touch our hearts – for better or for worse. Consider the psalms of David, inspired by God Himself, that have brought hope and comfort to millions of lonely, hurting souls. Or the Hallelujah Chorus, whose notes were penned by the great composer Handel, that hundreds of years later still causes our hearts to swell in unrestrained joy. Or the pop songs of the Beatles that helped define the cultural revolution of the 1960’s.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I approach my teaching this New Year with renewed enthusiasm. I find myself often quoting this Bible verse from Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” I am reminded that I’m not just teaching a piano lesson; I’m personally investing in the lives of those who will continue to impact the culture after I am gone. One student at a time I’m making a difference in the world.