In My (Musical) Life


There are places I'll remember

All my life, though some have changed

Some forever, not for better

Some have gone and some remain

-The Beatles, In My Life

In the pantheon of iconic bands the Beatles’ stands above them all. And for me, In My Life sits in the upper echelons of their song catalogue. 

Set in a simple musical setting, the song's poetic lyrics tell the story of the totality of one's life. It reminds us that even long ago and forgotten places & people helped to shape who we are today. It also remind us that our daily interactions are just as powerful in shaping who we are as grand events or traumatic experiences.

This is equally true for our musical lives.

Setting aside the small possibility that a child will choose music as a profession, her musical education likely begins in Kindergarten and ends when she graduates high school. We hope and want our students to continue on but typically college or community bands are more music recreation rather than music education. In other words, the focus is more on enjoyment than for instruction.

So what does a "musical life" typically consist of?

  • 1,526 total classes*
    - 231 general music classes
    - 555 middle school rehearsals 
    - 740 high school rehearsals

But there are other milestones to mark...

  • 26 concerts

  • 40 halftime shows

  • 182 rehearsals in a year

  • 110 rehearsals left in this year

And ways to quantify time...

  • 167 pieces of literature

  • 7 broken stands

  • 240 reeds

  • 2 instruments

  • 3 method books

And then there is the unquantifiable…

  • Tears 

  • Memories

  • Friends

  • Laughter

And through it all they will likely have just FOUR teachers

It’s important to remember that while music making is infinite, for most,
music education is not. It has a defined start and end date.

And while each and every child is in a different place in his progress and process, they all have the same ending place. Like life itself our musical life has a clock that continues to countdown with the passage of each and every day.

Through those thousands of experiences YOU are among the precious few teachers who have the opportunity, responsibility, and privilege to shepherd these young children through this process. The task is not an easy one. It requires vision, patience, skill, commitment, and a caring heart. It requires skill and mastery that extends beyond the instrument and into the understanding of young people. It requires your all.

I have always said that "Teaching music is a soul sucking, life draining profession because music is a soul enriching and life changing activity.” And through it all you were there and you will be remembered and loved for it. Paul McCartney said it best when he sang:

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more

Your days as a music educator may be finite but the depth of YOUR impact is not.

Have a great week!

* The numbers above are based on 182 instructional days, for twelve years, with general music every fourth day and daily instruction beginning in the 6th grade. The rest of the data is based on this formula.