Why I teach music.

I’ve wanted to be a music teacher since I was old enough to appreciate how amazing my own music teachers were.  Freshman year of high school, to be more precise.  But I got distracted by what people thought I should do, and by my own ego and ambition.  I went to the San Francisco Conservatory because I was so excited to have been accepted, but I really had no idea what I was getting into.  Then I got caught up in the beauty of opera and the wonderful hard work of classical singing, and for a while I thought I wanted to be a professional opera singer.  Soon after I finished my Bachelor’s Degree, however, I realized I was on the wrong path.

Don’t get me wrong– I love opera, and I love singing.  Being on stage is fun and exciting, and I enjoy the intense, focused work that goes into preparing for an excellent performance.   But I’ve learned that I just don’t have the personality of a professional opera singer.  A professional singer needs to be tough, driven, outgoing, extremely confident, and able to tolerate rejection.   It’s not an easy career, and you have to want it badly enough to push through all of the challenges you’ll face before you start succeeding.

My amazing voice teacher in college used to ask me this question at least once a year: “What do you need in order to be happy?”  Do you need to be famous?  Do you need to be popular?  Do you need a family?  My answer was always the same:  I need to sing.  I don’t need to sing on big, fancy opera house stages.  I just need to sing.  I don’t need to always be the center of attention, and I don’t need fame to make me feel validated.  Not that I have anything against my colleagues who are pursuing a professional opera career–  I really admire their dedication and strength.  I often feel a slight twinge of jealousy when I hear about the success of my former classmates, and part of me still wishes I had kept going down that path.

But then I started teaching, and I can’t imagine devoting my life to anything else.  My students are amazing, and I learn as much from them as they learn from me.  Teaching voice is like solving the most beautiful, intricate puzzle you can imagine, and I love puzzles.  Teaching piano and music theory is equally rewarding, and watching my students learn and grow makes me so proud.  This is not some kind of marketing scheme or insincere exaggeration, I am lucky to have found a career that I genuinely love this much.

I will use this blog to express my thoughts on music, education, creativity, life, adventure, and other things that bring me joy, and to connect with others who share those interests.  Most of all, I want to share with young musicians the vital pieces of knowledge that I did not learn until later.

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