Why Teach?

I had an awesome teaching moment tonight during a piano lesson and I just had to share it here. A young student of mine who has learned all the pentascales but had not yet been introduced to the entire major scale, was previewing a piece where the C scale is used throughout. Now before I tell you what happened next I must tell you that when he was learning the pentascales I never referred to them as pentascales, only scales.

So as we previewed the piece for tonight I pointed out that for these passages he would have to figure out how to get 3 more fingers on his hand since his other scales only used 5 fingers. That’s when his mind went into super thinking mode and he said, “hmmm if it has 5 notes we should call it a pentascale because penta means 5!” Then he proceeded to play the whole major scale with correct fingering and everything!

All I could do was ask, “What do you need me for?”

And with a big Kool-Aid smile he said, “to encourage me.”

At the end of the day, that’s really what teaching is all about.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be an encourager in the lives of the kids I teach.

What’s the greatest compliment a student has given you? Share it here and you’ll be encouraging everyone who reads this post.


4 thoughts on “Why Teach?

  1. Alison Armstrong says:

    That’s wonderful! I remember when my mum bought a piano and I knew the C major scale, and I was curious, so one afternoon I sat down worked out all the major scales by ear. Later someone told me about TTSTTTS, and it made perfect sense because I’d worked it out that pattern already. There’s something to be said for learning an instrument for a couple of years and then being taught theory- the jigsaw puzzle suddenly all comes together.
    As for moments in my own class, I just did a film music unit with my grade 10’s and we watched the Mission. We learnt about leitmotif and symbolism through music. Afterwards they had so much to say about the added layers of meaning that music brings to film, and now I know that instead of just watching a film, from now on they’ll be listening to film too.


    • fame1444 says:

      Alison, I totally agree! When you can figure something out on your own then learn that there is a theory about it that’s when you know that you really understand what’s going on! Thanks for sharing. Ooh a unit on film music sounds like so much fun! Film is an excellent way to show how music adds meaning to everything, especially movies. Music is so embedded in our lives that we often don’t even realize its impact. I like to have kids watch TV with their eyes closed and count how many times they hear music in 5 minutes. They are always so surprised that so much music is present. It’s also a great way to highlight music career possibilities. I always say, somebody just got paid for that sound you just heard!


      • Alison Armstrong says:

        Have you tried this in your lessons–> Musical imagination – Tell your student to close their eyes. Tell them you’re going to start a song and then stop and they have to imagine that the music keeps playing. I do this with Twinkle Twinkle and stop midway through (up a-bove the….) then start again at the end of the song. I do it again and tell them to imagine a different instrument instead of my voice (piano, violin, etc.). They smile so widely if they can hear the music in their head. Then I start with a song they don’t know and tell them to use their imagination to finish the song. It’s so fascinating to watch little kids move as they imagine music! This is also a good step before getting students to improvise or compose.


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