I Teach Music.
Music is the voice of history, the outlet for the oppressed, the story of the disenfranchised, and the legacy of those discriminated against.
Music has been and always will be the conduit through which life’s chronicles are passed, regardless of time period, economy or political climate. As a Music Teacher I provide a platform on which these narratives can be heard, experienced, and understood.
I Teach my students about the compositions and performances of black musicians (Louis Armstrong, Mary Lou Williams), white musicians (J.S Bach, Bonnie Raitt), LGBT musicians (Elton John, Billy Strayhorn), Latino musicians (Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdez), and musicians of all heritages (Anoushka Shankar, Bjork, Hermeto Pascoal, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lang Lang).
I Teach Music to boys and girls, men and women, of all ages. My students come to me at varying levels of ability and awareness, approaching me with the same visceral human connection to sound that we all feel. My students are sons and daughters of Republicans and Democrats, some are adopted, some identify as black, white or Asian, some practice Christianity and others Judaism.
I Teach Music to every single one of them. I aim to inspire, instruct, guide, and educate each student about the music that this world has provided us with so far, and mentor them on how they can begin making their own. I Teach with Love, because music knows no prejudice.
I Teach Music in Whitefish Montana, in a neighborhood I share with a white nationalist who recently erected a building next to mine. In a country so overtly (and increasingly so) racist, bigoted, and homophobic, my job as a Teacher has never been more important, as one of the most potent weapons against such divisive thought is Education.
Music Education teaches us language, technique, discipline, mathematics, history and democracy, just to name a few, but most importantly it teaches us is how to listen. When we open our ears to music, we not only hear artfully organized sound, but we also experience the tales of our ancestors, the plight of peoples, the slaughter of races, the joy of discovery and the resilience of the human spirit.
My greatest life’s impact is to teach Music. To teach it to both students awaiting a lesson, and to audiences anticipating a concert. To teach it over the din of ignorance, xenophobia, misogyny, and injustice, because it is my truth, my story and my spiritual endowment. There is no more powerful way to communicate than through a language that can be universally understood.
This is why I Teach Music.
This is why I Teach.