Thursday, January 17th, 2013...9:00 pm
On Former Students and Musical Endeavors
It’s not often that I get to follow the lives of my students for years after they leave the comfort of my classroom. I see students almost daily for a whole year, keep track of them as they wander the halls and inch closer and closer to graduation.
And then they go off into the wide wide world.
Some students keep in touch – social media has made that easier.
Others I run into at the grocery store or the movie theater; we quickly catch up and then they’re off again.
That’s the odd thing about teaching, I guess. I pour myself into my classroom, reveal so much of myself to my students. Many of them respond, reveal pieces of themselves to me as well. When the first students I had taught as 10th graders graduated, I cried. I was proud of them, yes, but I was also sad. I had come to know them, come to look forward to teaching and learning with them. And they were moving on. That was hard.
It’s gotten easier to send students off to explore the world, to pave their own ways to success. Part of that has just been a part of experience. And a part of that has been knowing that students will come back to tell me the great things they’re doing, to show me that maybe I played a small role in their successes.
One former student recently got me thinking about all of this when he wrote to tell me of a company he and another former student work for. He thought I might be interested in what he was doing and he also thought I might be able to spread the word about it here on my blog.
I taught these students TWELVE years ago! (I hardly feel old enough to say that). When Brandon and Miles were in my class not only were they writing intelligent and creative essays, they were clearly showing me their passion for music. Brandon sat in class constantly drumming on his desk and I remember Miles giving me a CD of his music when he graduated. I love seeing, all these years later, that these two have found a way to share their musical talent and passion in their work.
Brandon and Miles work for LessonFace – a website that allows you to learn to play an instrument via the web. You choose your instrument – they cover traditional band instruments all the way to Pro Tools and rap. Then you choose from a very talented pool of teachers (not only is one my former student (Miles), but the LessonFace teachers have won a grammy, taught P Diddy to sing, and shown Justin Bieber how to beatbox). Then you set your time, turn on your computer and webcam and learn. (Read the LessonFace blog on how it works here.)You can see Brandon and Miles demonstrate a typical LessonFace lesson in this video:
Having an online lesson and such a flexible schedule would solve so many of those problems. No schlepping kids in the car to a lesson during rush hour. No cramming your schedule inconveniently on weekends just so you can fit everything in. How convenient would it be to be able to have the very best teachers live in your living room? LessonFace seems like such a perfect option.
Right now Nora isn’t too interested in music other than dancing to it or making up her own songs in the shower or experimenting with the keys of the piano at her grandparents’ house. Miles likes to make noise – banging anything and everything he can find, whether it is his play drum or two spoons or sticks against our backyard tree. Some days he sings nonsensical tunes as he bangs, but mostly he makes noise, not music. Someday, though, I hope that both of them find their way to music, to playing music, making music of their own. And when that happens, when they want to learn how to make music, wouldn’t it be cool if my former students became the teachers?