Every student has the ability to succeed. Whether they do so or not depends on their teacher. It is my belief that we, as teachers, have a responsibility to make sure that students reach their full potential and experience that feeling of success generated by hard work. If students do not experience success in school, I believe their chances of being successful outside of school are diminished.
I believe in educating the whole student in all areas of academics. Music allows me to teach students about the world they live in. I can show them where our society has come from and where it is going just through it's music. If we can understand what music was, and what it is, we just might understand where it is going. If we understand where music is going, we understand where we are going as a society and even in a specific culture.
I belive that once students taste success created by their own hard work, they will desire more. That intrinsic motivation kicks in and begins to drive them towards greater achievements. This is especially true of young musicians. Take State Band or Choir, for example. These students work hard at their audition materials, then spend hours creating the perfect audition tape. When they hear that they have succeeded and receive that music packet, they will work even harder because they know what they are working towards. Granted, students who do not make it into State Band or Choir are dissappointed, but they learn a true life lesson. Life is tough. Most students come back the following year with a better idea of the degree of effort they must put into their audition. It is a real life lesson.
Take for example, also, students I take to Mass Choir. These students are not all musicians. Most of them are simply in the class out of necessity! Yet we are given pieces of music in foriegn languages that are difficult, and we learn them, and we are successful. Rehearsing is work, and most students do not find it fun, but once they get to the event and see how well their hard work has paid off, they are proud of themselves. They have experienced success.
I believe that all students should have equal opportunities in the music field. I do not think that a student should be turned away from learning an instrument or singing in the choir because they do not have the money to pay for instrument rental or other fees. We as human beings have a right to create music and I cannot turn away a student simply because they cannot pay. I have made special arrangements for students in the past to cover instrument rental fees or other music related fees for students who cannot afford them, and will do whatever is needed for students in this situation in the future.
Although music should be fun for students, they should constantly be learning. Teaching the fundamentals of music notation and singing or instrument technique are crutial, especially in the grades before high school, when students are more open to new experiences. Most adults do not get the music related opportunities that students receive, so it is important to instill some knowledge that these students can carry with them into their adult lives. A good musical foundation is invaluable.
I chose to teach music because music has been a vital part of my life for as long as I can remember. My favorite teachers in school were those who taught music. They inspired me to be the best musician and the best person I could be. It's no wonder I chose the same profession as these great individuals.