As a follow up to my previous sarcastic and deeply cynical post, here’s this. Luckily, these are the comments from students that tend to stick with us and make our day. If you’re really lucky, these are things that you hear with far greater frequency than the comments in my previous post.
1. Thanks. Doesn’t really matter what you’re saying “thanks” for. If you’re thanking me for a good class, or for spending a few minutes with you at lunch working on some music, I’m going to be deeply appreciative. It shows that you care, and you appreciate my efforts.
2. Look what I figured out at home! I love that you took your instrument home. Even more than that, I love that you were passionate about what you did once you took the instrument out of its case.
3. Can we play [name of piece]? Even if it’s not in the plans today, I’m excited that you’re excited about a piece of music.
4. Do you have any extra music you can give me? You’re looking for an additional challenge – awesome! Here’s my library of chamber music and solo pieces, let me know what you’re interested in and we’ll make it happen.
5. Ohhhhh, I get it now. That understanding is my ultimate goal. I don’t care if it takes five tries or five hundred tries for that concept to make sense; I’ll do whatever I can to help you get there.
6. Can I come in early for some extra help? Yes! I’ll bring the coffee! The fact that you’re volunteering to wake up early to come make some music warms my heart.
7. The other bands/musicians sound great! A good music program is a big family. A student has fully embraced that idea when they’re being supportive of their peers. This isn’t something that can be forced, either. It’s genuine, and it’s fantastic.
8. How would it sound if we did this? I try to encourage my students to form their own musical opinions on things. A question like this (“Hey, can we try a crescendo at measure 25?”) tells me that they’re experimenting with and curious about music. That can only lead to good things.
9. Can we come in and sit in with the 7th grade band? I teach 7th and 8th grade, and every year, my 8th graders want to come in and play along with the 7th graders. It seems like they genuinely enjoy offering their time and help to the younger kids. The 7th graders love it because an older student is showing personal interest in their success.
10. Can you give me the names of some private teachers? A million times, yes.
11. Check out this cool piece I found. I love that you’re exploring some of this music stuff for yourself.
12. I really liked your class. When a former student comes back and says this, it means the world to me. Hearing something like that is enough to erase a lot of the frustrations that we feel on a daily basis.
13. I’m excited for the concert. Me too. I’m glad your friends and family are getting the chance to see the results of all your hard work.
14. We’ve really gotten better. Sometimes, it’s tough for the students to recognize the huge strides that they take. They’re in class every day, and might be desensitized to the incremental improvements made each week. But, when they reflect back to where they were at the start of the year and realize how far they’ve come…it’s a real confidence booster for them.
15. I wasn’t sure about joining band, but now I’m glad I did. Every year, especially with younger students, it seems like quite a few are on the fence about joining my class. It’s a new building for them, with a new teacher, so the uncertainty is understood. I’m always thrilled when a student decides to give it a chance, and I get even happier when they decide that they made a good choice.
The Trombonist’s Mouthpiece by Joe Guarr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License