Influential Teacher Project (Friday November 15 2019) Mrs. Lord was one of my two high school music teachers who inspired me to go into music after giving me a new love for performing. I had her for grade 9 music as well as for choir class in high school. She was also my choir director, music director for the musicals and was conductor for junior band. Being my first actual music teacher in high school, she gave me a very good impression that represented the sophistication as well as the positive mindset of the program. She was very welcoming and taught me how to play the French horn which I still play to this day. Her passion and love of music inspired me, and the environment she and Mr. Johnston created in the music program allowed me to feel like I belonged in music. I had never felt I like I had belonged somewhere so much before, and this inspired me to pursue music in post-secondary. As soon as Mrs. Lord heard I wanted to go into music, she was super excited! She actually helped me prepare for my audition by setting me up a practice audition with my choir class. The amount of support and preparation I received was so helpful and I am so grateful for all she did to help me get to where I am now.My goals as a teacher, if I ever do become one, would be to produce knowledgeable and skillful students who both learn to love and understand music. Not only do I want to provide students with an opportunity to be enriched with knowledge of music theory and performing aspects, I also want to make music an important part of their lives and to give it meaning to them. That is exactly what my music teachers (Mrs. Lord especially) have done for me in the past, and I hope to be able to provide that for others too. If I were to do so, I would like to know what to expect in a teaching career as well as possible benefits and challenges. For my influential teacher interview, I wanted to ask Mrs. Lord about her success of teaching students effectively as well as giving them an appreciation for music. I askedMrs. Lord about the benefits and challenges of being a music teacher to find out what to expect, as well as how these factors will influence the success of my goals as a teacher.I asked my teacher what her favorite thing about teaching is. She answered with: “I have a lot of favorites so I will just name a few. One of my favorite things about teaching is when I get to learn neat things about my students and then try to incorporate those things into my lessons.” One thing I have learned in both this course and from my high school music teachers is that teaching music requires attention to every individual more than any other subject because it is so hands-on. Every student gets one-on-one time with the teacher, which allows them a chance to work out their difficulties more than they would doing it alone. Especially in a small school like ours where the music classes tend to be small, there are no students who are left behind when learning their instrument and new music. Everyone faces different challenges unique to themselves but in band class everyone is important. Furthermore, by attending to the strengths and interests of the class, a teacher can get the students more engaged which will help them enjoy the class more. It is difficult to be able to do activities with a class based on their interests in other subject areas because the curriculum is so strict. With music, students are free to express themselves with the instruments they choose as well as the songs they choose. My choir class last year really liked musical theatre, and Mrs. Lord would let us choose songs from musical theatre that we all liked. For example, we did “Stay, I Pray You” from Anastasia and “Lida Rose” from The Music Man which were so much fun! Based on strength, a teacher may choose to challenge the class further if they see it as appropriate. This is another advantage to teaching music, as one is not restricted by the curriculum. As a teacher, I would take full advantage of playing/singing things of interest to the students so they are more engaged and also to have more fun! Another thing my teacher said for her favorite thing about teaching was: “I also like seeing my students perform and, after practicing a challenging section, be successful in their performance. I think it really helps them learn the idea that hard work can pay off.” Since there is so much one-on-one time with music teachers because of the nature of learning it, teachers often develop a close relationship with their students as they work closely together. More often in music than in other subjects, teachers will know each individual’s challenges and act on them willingly. This makes the satisfaction of seeing them succeed even greater. For me, I think that this satisfaction and pride for my students’ success would also be my favorite thing about teaching not only because they have learned that hard work pays off, but also because they have found a love of music and therefore a reason/desire to do well in it. Because I have no idea what being a music teacher is like (as I have no previous experience), I asked my influential teacher if teaching is what she expected it to be. She answered with: “It is pretty much what I expected. Things that are similar to what I expected are students becoming friends in band/music room and students going from sounding very bad to sounding good in a short amount of time (grade 9s especially).” This of course may not always be the case depending on the school or the environment, and I may feel that my teaching may not be sufficient enough to create this improvement in a tough situation. Even if I gain years of experience, it may not always be easy to help people improve depending on the individual and their background. This is a fear I have, however I believe what Mrs. Lord says will probably turn out to be true, that things will turn out for the most part as expected and students will learn quickly once they have the basics. As for challenges, one my teacher brought up was: “Always keeping positive and challenging students at the same time.” This can be difficult because there must be a balance of both positivity and challenge/criticism. There can’t be too much of either or this may negatively affect the learning experience of the student. Honesty is necessary so the student can know what they need to improve on, but a teacher should not be discouraging when criticizing. It is also important that the student knows what they are doing well. If I were to teach, I would hope that I would be satisfied with the success and the achievements of students, as my goal is to help them gain something from my teaching. This component is an intriguing aspect of teaching for me, and, curious as to whether this actually happens, I asked Mrs. Lord if she feels satisfied with teaching. She responded with: “Yes, because students are coming back to me after they graduate and say "this is what I remember, being in band, being in the musical - those were the most valuable experiences to me and shaped me as a musician and a person". That is really rewarding and feedback like that lets me know that we did something right.” Being one of those people who felt the music program at my high school was a valuable experience, I can confirm that my teachers were doing something right! I have known people who had never done anything musical until high school but then ended up pursuing it in school because our teachers made them love it so much. My friend Megan picked up saxophone in grade 9 and loved it so much that she started taking lessons and is now at McGill for BMus. If our teachers didn’t start and support her love of it, Megan may be elsewhere today. As for me, music had always been an important part of my life but I never thought of it as a career option until Mrs. Lord said that I was good enough. Seeing how many successes that my teachers share with their students makes me think that teaching would be so worthwhile in order to feel the pride and satisfaction of helping others succeed and find a love for music. Mrs. Lord has been very influential for so many students. I was curious as to what her goals in teaching are and whether she thinks she reaches them. I asked her what her goals are, and she said: “I hope to provide a safe place where students can realize the awesomeness of music performance and music historyand can feel like they can be themselves around others. I want to give them performance opportunities and I want them to support their peers in their performances. I hope that someday these students will say that taking music in high school made their life better in some way - create happiness!” It turns out we have similar goals as a teacher! She also wishes to provide an understanding and appreciation for music from a performance perspective as well as historically/theoretically. Mrs. Lord seems to obtain these goals successfully, as she was able to provide these things for me and many of my peers. She also hopes that her students will find happiness in making music, and that music will somehow make their life better. This was the case for me, I realized that music gave me a happiness like nothing else in high school because the program made me feel like I belonged. I hope that having the same goals in mind, I can be just as successful as she is in teaching others one day. As of right now, I feel like I would be insufficient as a teacher because of my lack of training. Of course, if I ever became a teacher I would probably have more training beforehand. However I would like to be as prepared as possible when the time comes! So, I asked Mrs. Lord if there is anything she wished she did before becoming a teacher that she thinks would have been helpful now. She said: “I wish I took an instrument repair course or fiddled around with broken instruments to see how they are put together and what the most common problems are. Also, learned all the band instruments even better. I knew the trumpet, trombone, sax, and clarinet pretty well, but I should have learned the flute and French horn more.” This makes sense, as it is important that every individual is able to receive the same amount of teaching and training no matter what instrument they choose. I also agree with knowing about instrument repair because in reality the budget for music is low and new instruments are rare, it is good to be able to fix issues so they can last longer. Interviewing my high school teacher, who has always seemed super amazing in my eyes, made me realize how similar we are in terms of being passionate about performing and music history, and how we both hold music in a special place. Realizing how similar our goals are for teaching makes me feel like I can work up to be that successful one day if I decide to pursue teaching. I feel confident that I can create a love of music in people just like Mrs. Lord did. Having her give me insights about what teaching is like and what I should expect makes me feel a bit more confident in my chances teaching. If things work out, then they will be mostly like what I will expect and my students’ successes will feel like my successes.