A couple months ago, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) ran a series for "Music Monday", which occurs on the first Monday of each May in Canada. Music Monday is a time to celebrate the impact of music, and of music education. CBC took this time to feature several letters from prominent Canadian musicians to music teachers, thanking them for their dedication to music education, and for influencing them to pursue a career in music.
The impact of music teachers is hard to measure in quantitative terms. In a society where as children and young adults we are increasingly pushed to pursue careers in “money making” areas like science and math, music teachers are vitally important in showing how important and fulfilling a career in music is. They may be the first people in our lives to introduce us to the beauty of music making, and to nurture our growth as artists. As we continue to grow as musicians and enter professional careers, we may still have teachers who act as advisors and coaches, supporting us along our journey.
Looking back, I’ve been very lucky to have a veritable army of teachers behind me. In high school, I went to a public school with a pretty amazing music program - two full time music teachers, multiple courses in both vocal and instrumental music, bands, choirs, and an annual musical. Having those resources available to me (and a team of supportive music teachers) certainly influenced me as a teenager to strongly pursue a career in music. My experiences in those classes showed me that I loved music, and that I was much better at it then many of the more traditional courses I had to take, like math and science.
As an adult, I'm lucky enough to have a regular vocal coach and teacher who is not only gifted at voice instruction, but also serves as a mentor and friend. She’s an essential part of my life as a musician, and keeps me motivated and moving towards new goals.
So, as you can probably tell, I think music teachers are awesome! But what do you think? How have music teachers influenced you, and do you have any great stories about them? If so, share them below!
Aside from working for Bandzoogle, Justin has been lucky enough to work as a soloist for many companies in Toronto, including Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera in Concert, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, the Annex Singers, and the North Toronto Players. Recent engagements have included the role of Ralph T. Rackstraw in North Toronto Player’s Starship Pinafore, as a soloist for the Annex Singers’ Opera Choruses concert, and his own spring tour of Irish folk music.