This is a guest post by one of our blog writers, Sarah Joncas.
There are many reasons to be thankful for all that music teachers do! Here are just a few:
1. For teaching all students
In many schools, music teachers teach literally every student in the entire school. I have over 400 students each week! Kids come to music class with all kinds of challenges, and yet music teachers do their best to teach each student that walks through their door.
2. For event planning prowess
Music teacher? Event planner? Assembly MC? Most music teachers wear many hats, and juggle a boatload of priorities every day. If you need an event to go off without a hitch, ask a music teacher for help. They’ll think of every supply, every logistical detail, and every person to make sure things go smoothly.
3. For last minute flexibility
Only a music teacher can run a rehearsal with 100 students at the same time… on the day before break… when the school has no power. Music teachers learn to improvise and think on the fly, all while keeping the focus on the kids.
4. For fostering creativity
Can you imagine a world without books, movies, music, or art? It would be pretty boring! Music teachers give students an outlet to develop creativity and self-expression so they can be the creators of tomorrow.
5. For making special occasions special
Need a song for a retiring teacher? A thank you song for custodians? Patriotic music for Veterans Day? Holiday music to celebrate an upcoming vacation? Your friendly neighborhood music teacher is on it, and is probably already planning for the next celebration to boot!
6. For teaching students to listen
Listening seems to be a forgotten skill amongst adults in society today. But music teachers show students how to really listen, both to music and to each other.
7. For providing opportunities for collaboration
Music provides an authentic context for working together. Music teachers show students how to cooperate and collaborate to make music, and encourage teamwork rather than competition. Students who might never associate with each other outside the classroom can make music together, and perhaps find that they have more in common than they realize.
8. For balancing the past and present
Music teachers walk a delicate tightrope of honoring the music of the past while respecting current music that their students love. They provide musical context to students, helping them understand how their music came to be and how it relates to music of the past.
9. For the long hours
From before-school rehearsals to after-school meetings, music teachers often have to work long hours. They sacrifice time with their own families to give students musical experiences.
10. For making it about the music
While it’s easy for those who don’t teach music every day to focus on music’s supposed academic benefits or possible test score increases, music teachers know that music is so much more than that. Music is its own important subject.
11. For putting on a show
No one can wow a crowd like a group of students led by a music teacher! From assemblies to evening concerts, music teachers know how to take care of every detail to let students shine on stage.
12. For teaching effort
Learning music takes time and consistent effort; it’s not something that can be “crammed” for. In a world of instant gratification, music teachers show students how and why to put forth appropriate effort towards meeting a goal. This skill isn’t just applicable in music class, it applies to all aspects of life and learning.
13. For goosebump moments
One of the most gratifying parts of making music is those “goosebump moments”, when you can feel a deep connection to the music and are truly amazed by it. Music teachers lead students towards these goosebump moments every day.
14. For problem solving
Missing a ligature? Lost your phone charger? Lights aren’t working in the auditorium? Music teachers are the perfect people to help with these problems. They will think of both logical and outside the box solutions and find a way to cope with the challenge, whatever it may be.
15. For balancing learning and fun
Sometimes, kids just need to be kids. Music teachers know how to balance learning with fun, perhaps letting a singing game go a few extra turns just because the kids are enjoying it or turning a note naming assignment into a quiz game. Learning music is hard work, but it can also be enjoyable.
16. For finding all the songs
Need a song about dinosaurs? A song to teach a student to tie their shoes? A song to integrate with a social studies unit? Music teachers are a wealth of knowledge about music, and can serve as a resource for finding music to fit almost any need or situation.
17. For their patience
Music takes time to teach, and often progress feels slow or nonexistent. Music teachers patiently press onward, working repeatedly on the same concept or piece until students understand.
18. For making connections
Music teachers understand that music doesn’t exist in isolation. They teach students about the connections between music and other subjects, and how what they’re learning in one area carries over to others. Rhythms are fractions, phrases are sentences, and many songs are much more interesting in historical context. Music teachers show their students how what they’re learning fits into the bigger picture.
19. For doing what no one else will
There’s likely only one person in a school willing to run a rehearsal with 200 students, stack 500 chairs, and dance in front of a crowd in a penguin suit. Music teachers step up and do what needs to be done, even when it’s extremely difficult.
20. For having fun
It’s important for kids to see that adults can find joy too. Most music teachers love their jobs, and have fun with their students. This shows students that it’s okay (not “babyish” or immature) to have fun, even in silly ways.
21. For bringing people together
Nothing brings people together like music. Whether it’s a caroling field trip, singing the alma mater, or playing from the stands at a football game, music teachers know that music unites us in a special way, and use that to help build community within their school.
22. For doing so much with so little
Music programs are often underfunded, but music teachers make do with what they have. From drumming on buckets and chairs to DIY instrument repairs, music teachers make things work despite not having enough money or time.
23. For teaching students to find their voice
Music allows students to express themselves, and to learn to share their ideas. Music teachers support student agency by giving students the opportunity to speak their truth, and help students begin to see themselves as capable of presenting.
24. For teaching students
Some days, students need more than just a happy song. They need a listening ear, a patient response, or a hug. Music teachers see what students need and make sure they get it, focusing on the people rather than just the music.
25. For filling the halls with music
Without music teachers, you wouldn’t hear the sound of kindergarteners singing, the sound of a high school band concert, or the sound of bucket drums echoing. Music teachers give the whole school something to hear and be proud of.
There are many reasons to be grateful for music teachers. They do so much for students and schools, and are sometimes unappreciated. Thank you music teacher for all you do!
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About the Writer
Sarah Joncas is a music teacher from Massachusetts, USA. She teaches kindergarten through fifth grade general music, fifth grade chorus, fifth grade band, and percussion ensemble. Before becoming a teacher, she worked with technology and educational software.In 2014, she was named a TI:ME Technology in Music Education Leadership Fellow, which allowed her to attend a music education conference in Texas and explore cutting edge music teaching technology. She has earned degrees in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University. You can connect with Sarah on Twitter or her blog Teaching Music Musings.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.