This is the thing all musicians have in common, I’ve found, whether it’s a successful singer who’s found a career they love, a guitarist who looks forward to weekend gigs with their friends, or the not-too-athletic middle-schooler who realizes they can impress their friends with ragtime. Music came into their lives and made it better, maybe a lot better.
Every spring I wrestle with whether I should keep my little ones near by becoming their piano teacher instead of sending them off to other teachers. If I did that I could watch them grow week by week, coach their recital pieces, and help them choose what to play at school talent shows. In educational parlance this is called “looping,” when the teacher and student advance together to the next level. For me it’s called not letting go.
Children are built to make music, which is something parents notice and want to capitalize on. That’s great. But a good music lesson for an eight-year-old is not necessarily what’s good for a preschooler.
Education is a common good. I take that to mean that when one child flourishes the whole world gets a little better. And maybe Music Tree can be a tiny part of that.
One of the nice things about being in music education for a long time is getting to see students go from not knowing where middle C is to playing a Mussorgsky piece so well it leaves you breathless. In every case, young or old, there is a stick-to-itiveness I admire.