Why I Admire My Students

As a teacher, I find myself incredibly proud of, and in awe of my students, on a regular basis.  I have found myself two times in the past week telling people just how much I admire my students, and why.  I thought it was a worthy topic for a post.  I like to show my appreciation for the people in my life whom I admire; and my students are definitely no exception!

My students can be grouped in many different ways, and are from many different age groups, backgrounds, and levels of experience.  For the purposes of this post, I’ll (over)simplify it down to two groups:  Children/school-age students, and adult students.

My school age students, ranging from primary school to college age, are joyful to work with.  They usually have numerous commitments both at school and extracurricular.  They may have health issues, or a stressful school life, social life, or family life.  And yet they practice.  They show up to their lessons with energy and determination.  They listen patiently and they try what I suggest to them, even when it’s outside their comfort zone.  They laugh at my terrible jokes.  If they don’t have the energy or haven’t practiced, they are honest with me.  They know I won’t guilt trip them, be angry, or give them disapproving looks.  They just do their best with what they can and what they are in that moment, and I dig that.  They love music, they love singing, whether they’re singing confidently already or just starting out.

And their families; ever supportive, encouraging, facilitating the education of their kids in more than just the status quo way.  They are definitely worth a mention too.

As for my adult students… they are the ones that really blow me away.  They range in age from just-out-of-college, to in their 20s starting/developing their careers, to people in their 30s/40s/50s/60s and up!

Some of my students are accomplished singers already, professional performers, university-level conservatorium students, fellow singing teachers… who want to extend their knowledge of the physiology of the voice, understand their instrument better, try many methods and many teachers, to be the best vocalists they can be.  I very much admire & respect this determination… and identify with it, as it is the same fire that burns inside me.

In addition, many of my adult students are folks who are singing for the first time!  I have many adult students for whom singing in front of someone is a huge fear they are facing.  They start out quiet, breathing shallow, nervous, constantly self-deprecating and refusing to attribute to themselves the label of “singer”.  They say, “I’m probably going to be the worst you’ve ever heard,” to which I smile, and tell them I doubt it.  I see them work hard, persevere, swallow their fears, make small improvements, get excited about them.  I see them grow and become more confident, more comfortable, more relaxed singing in front of me, more excited about music.  I see their eyes light up when they “get” something for the first time, and I love celebrating with them!  That’s a truly exciting moment for me as a teacher – and I feel privileged to be able to witness and be a part of it.

Maybe they have a strong and passionate love of music and would love to be an active part of it, maybe write a song, maybe jam with their musical friends.  Maybe they want to blow everyone away at karaoke – or just not embarrass themselves!  Maybe it is a “bucket list” item they want to tick off.  Maybe they know the boost to their self-confidence it will provide when they face this fear, look it squarely in the face, and say “I don’t care what you say – I’m going to SING, dammit!!”  And THAT is one of the most admirable things I have seen my fellow human beings do, over and over again.

I’ve been singing all my life – it’s difficult to get me to shut up, to be perfectly honest.  Since before I could speak, I was singing, making up little songs to myself in my cot.  I was an irritatingly precocious show-off of a child who loved performing and jumped up on any stage available.  This is just part of the make-up of who I am, for me it comes easily (though there are ALWAYS nerves about performing; I prefer to call it “excitement” rather than “nerves”.)  So when I look at my students, who do not share this annoying personality trait of being an insufferable show-off… who have not been performing their entire lives… but for whom singing is a genuinely SCARY and boundary-pushing activity… I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for them and what they do.  They face their fear head on, and it bowls me over every time.

Not only that, but many of my adult students may be university students, just starting out in the workforce, or starting out as freelancers or running their own small business.  They don’t have a lot of expendable income, and yet they come and lay their money on the line for the desire to better themselves. I have so much respect for that.  Self-improvement is something I am passionate about and identify strongly with, and all of my students are working hard, and making sacrifices, to become the person they want to be.

And those, my friends, are a few reasons why I admire my students.

Stay fabulous guys!  Thankyou for bringing joy to my life :)

Bec

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