Day 2 of the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge is the Loves of my Life. Some people might be expecting me to write about my husband, or other bloggers might write about their family, but then I’d have nothing to write on the family and friends days! So I’m going to write about something that I’ve loved for all of my life so far- Music.
There hasn’t been a bit of my life which hasn’t had some kind of music or soundtrack associated with it (in my head at the very least, anyway). I loved it from when I was really young. I liked the different sounds and the challenges of learning an instrument. I was really lucky to have a natural ability for music, so I could play tunes and instruments I’d never played before just by playing them by ear or feel.
The older I got, the more I looked forward to the rehearsals that made up my week. Thursdays in particular were a bit crazy: choir at lunchtime at school then samba band practice after school also at school. Then a few of us walked to the train station (about a mile) and caught the train to the nearest city, had a quick tea at KFC and then walked another mile or so to the music centre for Youth Concert Band and the Border Concert Band. These rehearsals actually overlapped in time, so we used to go to three quarters of one and then half of the other (if that makes sense). I loved it and it was such a valuable and diverse experience to have.
After school I chose to study it at University along with French. I was alright at performing, but nothing special, so picked other music modules. But I still played and started to love the logistics of concert management and directing ensembles, experiences which I’m really grateful for and which have helped me no end while being a teacher.
As part of my year abroad, I moved to France and joined their ‘school’ choir (it’s more like a university standard choir and orchestra). The music system is different in France, and it was obviously all in a foreign language. In having to learn everything from scratch essentially, it gave me an insight into how lucky I was to have picked it up relatively easily as a child, and how difficult it can be to learn. It’s a feeling I used to refer back to quite a lot when teaching students- the enthusiasm of wanting to be able to do it, but also being so frustrated about finding it nearly in reach, but still not quite managing it.
Music was part of my career as a teacher. It was a noisy department, but I wanted my department to be for my pupils like it was for me when I was at school- the door was always open and pupils could come and play or use it as a safe haven. There’s a feeling you get which is hard to describe when you work with a pupil who has found something hard or who seriously lacks confidence who then suddenly manages to ‘do it’. It’s a cross between elation and what I imagine is maternal pride. I’d always end up jumping around in celebration with them, or returning a cool fist bump if jumping wasn’t the pupil’s thing! I became a music teacher because I’m a firm believer in music teaching you more than what you actually physically learn, and I wouldn’t be the person I am without my music teachers from school.
I was really upset when music made my health worse- I physically couldn’t play. Instead, I revisited my love of listening to music. I’m really grateful that even thought I can’t play anymore, I can still listen and get excited about the ‘clever’ bits and still find something new in pieces of music I’ve listened to hundreds of times.
Unless the government start censoring music completely, I’m guessing it’ll always be around. And for that, I’ll always be grateful 🙂