Music Teacher Tip #55 - Listen and Show Your Passion

Updated: Sep 4

I had a professor in college who was odd, rigid, and maybe a little mean. He didn’t seem to connect with us. He never smiled, and right at the start of class, he would lock the door. If you were late, too bad.

I struggled to stay motivated. It was a lot of blah blah about music history, but no music and no feeling.

Then one day, he said he was going to play a piece for us. I honestly don’t remember the piece. It was rich and orchestral and probably from the Romantic period. But what I do remember is him. He closed his eyes and gently conducted. We watched the music move him and suddenly saw his humanity. We felt something with him and all at once, the class had life and meaning!

. . . . . . .

You know all those times you wish you could expose your kids to really amazing music and just let them listen... but then you remembered you have this performance and that rehearsal, and so many other things preventing it?

Well, all those barriers are now gone. What if you used this time to let your kids hear the greatest performers of all time?!

Want your clarinets to sound better? Let them hear what characteristic tone quality is from the masters.

Want your choir to be inspired? Find an amazing children’s choir recording and let them hear it right from their own computers.

Want your orchestra kids to feel phrasing when they play? Let them watch the best orchestra in the world as all the strings move in unison with laser precision.

Want your elementary general kids to get excited about rhythm? Let them experience the polyrhythms of West African school children playing the drums. The possibilities are endless!!!

Instead of showing them your concert stress face, you can show them your passion for the music and your joy in experiencing it with them!

Teach them how to listen critically. Teach them new vocabulary to use to describe what they’re hearing. Let them judge what they’re hearing using that Music Performance Adjudication rubric!

But most of all, show them your passion for the music and why you decided to make music your life’s work in the first place.

Do that and they will feel something.

They will grow as musicians and as people, and they will connect with you too...

And isn’t that the whole point?

Happy teaching.


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