Happy Thanksgiving! NAfME Members Share What They Are Thankful For
You may have noticed friends, family, and colleagues sharing what they are thankful for in daily or weekly posts on social media—for everything from the goodness of a strong cup of coffee, to a car that starts each morning, to the “big things” like their children’s good health and the safety our first responders provide.
Well, all of us at NAfME, could not be more grateful for our music educators and the phenomenal impact of your dedication in the lives of students every day. Some of us are musicians, some former teachers, some music parents. But all of us know our world would be much less the richer without music and the dedicated teachers who bring music into the lives of students each day.
Here are some thoughts from our members on the eve of Thanksgiving Day.
In this article by Amy Nathan in the Oxford University Press blog, musicians reflect on special ways a teacher helped them learn their craft:
- Isabel Trautwein, violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra: “I went to Cleveland to study with Donald Weilerstein. He used the ultimate non-judgmental approach. He never used criticism. He would go through a piece line by line and wanted to know what I was trying to say, as a person.”
- Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, who studied with Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard: “She told me to go to the library and listen to all the recordings I could get my hands on and attend concerts as much as possible, to listen and learn as much as possible. She thought it would be incredibly helpful to study the phrasing, tempi, sound, and technique of all performers so that I could imbue my own sound with this insightful study and thoughtfulness. This purpose of being able to teach oneself with the right tools, so as to ‘own’ your sound, was the greatest lesson of all.”
“The impetus for my interest in music came from my first public school music teacher in fifth grade.”
- Imani Winds oboist, Toyin Spellman-Diaz: “The impetus for my interest in music came from my first public school music teacher in fifth grade. I remember watching her as a young child and thinking that even though it was a lot of work, she enjoyed what she was doing. I remember thinking, ‘I would really like to do something like this when I grow up.’ I sang in the choir. She introduced me to the flute and I played in the school band. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and be a music teacher.”
In “Thanks: Musicians Recall Special Ways Their Parents Helped Them Blossom,” Amy Nathan shares sentiments on the impact of parents in their students’ musical studies:
- Imani Winds oboist, Toyin Spellman-Diaz: “They wanted an African-American teacher so I could see a classical musician who looked like me, to show me that there were African-American classical musicians out there.” They steered Toyin toward jazz, but classical won out, which was fine. “With my parents, it was knowing when to let go and let me find my own voice, my own passion for it.”
“Mom understood I had enough music teachers in my life. The best thing she did was leave the music part to everyone else and be a mom.”
- Jonathan Biss: This pianist credits his parents with creating an “atmosphere that I didn’t feel I was doing it to please them or because it was good for me. I was doing it because I loved music.”
- Violinist Sarah Chang: “Mom understood I had enough music teachers in my life. The best thing she did was leave the music part to everyone else and be a mom.”
We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are refreshed for the remaining school year.