Today I did something that I never have before: presented my background and career path of teaching children music to three different groups of elementary school students at St. Rose of Lima School in Mississauga! I was asked to participate by one of my current clients, with two daughters studying the Music for Young Children program with me. I was honored to be included in the event, and thought long and hard about what I would say, and the type of advice I would give to a room full of aspiring young artists.
I started by asking my current Level 6 theory class about what I should do to create an inspiring and engaging presentation. Many of these students have been with me for quite a few years (some starting their musical education as Music for Young Children students), and they recommended some of the fun and memorable activities and instruments that we have used in class before: Boomwhackers, plastic cups, drumsticks, and balloons – check; visual aids, powerpoint – check; relating my words and advice to the students’ situation, identifying musicians in each group and giving prizes to the people who have taken music lessons the longest – check; and name dropping, mentioned my composer friend Neil Parfitt who has most recently worked on the movie Rampage – check. Armed with a healthy supply of business cards, Music for Young Children pamphlets, pencils, wardrobe complete with logo, Long & McQuade pencils, Frisbees, and balloons, I set off for my full morning of presentations.
I had no idea what to expect about the experience of presenting to these young people, groups of varying ages from grades 5-8. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement and interest shown throughout each of my 25 minute presentations (no one fell asleep once! : ) I can echo the sentiment shared by one of the other presenters during the break in between sessions, that I too was really impressed by some of the questions that these young people posed throughout the presentations. One student asked: how come you have so many jobs? Which gave me an opportunity to address a typical workload and range of skills needed to be a successful piano teacher, musician, or artist (there are no such thing as 9-5, 5 days per week that I am aware of. This type of work comes in ebbs and flows). Another student asked if I communicated with blind students while teaching informal music lessons in Thailand by using sign language? This gave me an opportunity to educate about alternative ways of communicating with people who have deficient senses to your own, and how to come up with creative solutions to be able to work together.
Overall it was a great experience to spend a morning with these young people, and I wish them the very best in their future careers, wherever this road of life may take them!
Ms. MICHELLE FEDOROWICH