Wasting Talent for 15 Years? - Hingham Journal 12/09
I have to admit, there have been moments when I have questioned my sanity. Like with any career, there are bad days. There was the time a visiting grandfather - who had been enchanted with watching his grandson in my Music Together® class - chirped on the way out, “Wow, you are so talented, why are wasting your voice here?” That was a rough one. Then there was the time my mother-in-law said basically the same thing. And then my father. Or variations on that theme, but you get the idea. Ok, early childhood music teachers can get a bad rap (at the high school reunion, “I’m sorry, you do what exactly?”). People think we are basically like Barney without the purple, slightly talented at best and wishing we could hide behind a costume if we could. If there is ever a mommy-and-me class portrayed on television, the teacher is portrayed as some over-the-top saccharine young woman who is badly in need of a dose of reality. While I did begin teaching Music Together fourteen years ago when I was, ahem, younger, I was never this woman. Passionate, yes. But silly and goofy, no. In fact, I was the opposite, and had to learn to lighten up (I’m still learning this!). But what drew me to teach Music Together is what keeps me in it today: a commitment to music. The truth is that people need to be able to speak the language of music in order for music to not go the way of Latin. I’m serious about that; it really scares me sometimes. People need to have a basic sense of beat and tonality in order even appreciate music as an audience member, otherwise the whole endeavor becomes a bit of a charade. In a 2010 satirical day calendar entitled “Stuff White People Like”, January 9/10 reads: “Appearing to Enjoy Classical Music”. This would be funny if were not so true and so sad to those of us trying to keep all genres of music alive. Most of all, people need to experience music on a fun level. This is what we do in Music Together, and the memory of this is what draws baby boomers to Rodgers and Hammerstein shows - because these used to be songs sung in a living room around a piano and it was fun! Everyone including Uncle Larry would sing along. Now, I wonder how many people even sing carols around a piano anymore? Families aren’t singing together now that we tvs and radios and ipods, and we all know how hard it is to speak a language not spoken in your home. So this is why I have stuck with it for so many years. Because in Music Together, families really do learn to sing together. They experience the joy of that on the simplest and purest level. And because there are also the days when I will run into an old client with a ten year-old who says, “We still sing that sea shells song together” or “We are so glad we have all these songs in common with our children. Music Together is really one of our fondest memories.” So come try one of our Music Together classes at South Shore Conservatory. We offer classes 6 days a week in five locations throughout the South Shore beginning Saturday, January 9.