Passion in Music

Passion in Music

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

-Victor Hugo

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Music can be powerful. As music teachers, if we don’t bring this potential into our lessons then we are doing them a great disservice. If we aren’t enabling our students to be moved by the music they make, what is the point? Playing piano has had a profound effect on my life. It has been a lifelong pursuit that has filled me with joy, determination, satisfaction, and fulfillment. At Jammin’ we want that for our students, so we bring our passion to the table and it in turn sparks passion in our students.

Although these are necessary tools, the end goal of our lessons isn’t a lifeless list of accomplished scales, precise technique, and exact playing. It is to stoke a passion for music that allows our students to express themselves, create something beautiful and original, inspire others, and even be a healing emotional outlet.

Here is a story from one of our voice teachers. It’s longer than the average blog post, but I think you’ll find that it’s worth the read.

Emmey and her Grandmother (Betty) came in when she was 12. Betty told us Emmey had quite a gift and passion for singing. However, she also wanted us to be aware that Emmey had a difficult childhood. Her mother died when she was very young, and her relationships with other family members had been suffering. Her Grandmother said, “Lessons for Emmey aren’t just about music.” I was very honored to work with Emmey, and hoped to continue to build skill and confidence, both musically and personally, in her. Well, and who wouldn’t want to work with that voice!? (You can listen to her sing by clicking on the link at the end of this blog post)

I saw from the start that when Emmey steps on a stage, she owns it. She is talented, witty, thoughtful, honest, and ambitious. However, there were days she would come into the studio with life weighing her down so hard she could barely breathe. There was sometimes physical exhaustion or pain that couldn’t be explained. Good singing requires both physical and emotional energy, and Emmey was drained and frustrated. She couldn’t bring herself to sing these days, and she was all the more frustrated when she couldn’t do what she loved most. When this was her state for five or six consecutive lessons, I really started to worry. Many lessons we would talk, and I would ask her if she was eating okay, sleeping okay, how her family relationships and friendships were going, and if there was anything I could do. Outside of the studio I thought of her frequently, and I would occasionally text message her or pray for her.

Where Emmey took lessons

Studio A, where Emmey studied voice.

Then, one day she came into her lesson with a glow I had never seen. Without her saying a word I asked her, “What’s going on!?” In the short two weeks since I had last seen her, she had written, recorded, and presented a song. This was not just a “song” but a very raw and personal expression, processing the difficulties and questions she had been facing. After listening to it I was fighting tears, not because of the pain expressed in the song, but because of my happiness in seeing Emmey with a weight lifted and a sense of hope. I was so proud of her for being brave. She took a significant part of her life story and put it in a song. She took her questions of God and put them in a song. She chose to grab onto hope and put it in a song. Emmey’s problems weren’t anywhere near being solved but her self-confidence and determination to thrive was revived.

Emmey’s performances were featured on the radio, at local shows, and at my student recital. We then continued working on technique, stage presence, and discussing repertoire for future performance opportunities. This experience with Emmey is one of the reasons I love music. Music is freeing, healing, rewarding, and a means to deep human understanding and connection. Some of my greatest friendships and moments of renewed hope and inspiration have been found through music. It makes me love the work I do and care deeply for my students. What an incredible gift we have in music.

To listen to Emmey’s song click here.

Click here to read what Emmey had to say about her song.

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