Music. It has the power to make us smile, and bring us to all types of tears. It can carry us back in time, and inspire us to dance in the moment. For all our happiest days, there is music.
If you read my post about my blogs first birthday, you would have found out that I first began my blog to help document my journey as a teacher and the importance of music, but the blog became so much more than just the rantings and musings of a teacher. I haven’t done as many teacher posts as I originally thought I would and honestly, that may be because I needed an outlet away from teaching. While I do enjoy teaching, it is most definitely draining, and some days I just need to talk about other things, like fashion. For any teachers reading this post, Ya’ll know exactly what I mean. Reflecting on “Life, Love, and Lessons” journey through its first year, and the fact that it is “ Music in our Schools” month, I thought it would be fun to share how music has always been a part of my life, why it is so important and unlike anything else in life, and the wonderful feedback I received from my students when prompted with the question, “ Why is music important to you?”
Last year during the month of March, I made my classroom a stage for local musicians! I worked for about a month before to try and schedule some really cool performers from the area, (many of them friends of mine) to come to Carver and perform for my students! I had a variety of musicians from classical musicians to bluegrass musicians, to jazz musicians- It was so fun seeing how my students lit up with excitement as the musicians came to perform each day. One reason I really wanted to host performers throughout the month was because many of my students haven’t had many opportunities to see concerts and many rarely have gone to performances. I on the other hand have been privileged throughout my life to see many wonderful performance and to have grown up in a musical family.
Both my parents are musicians and growing up in a musical household, I wanted to be a part of all the fun and wanted to try my hand at some instruments. My dad used to play the trumpet and still plays piano- he is amazing at piano! He would play piano many times in the evening while myself and my siblings were headed to bed and those are some of my fondest memories! I even prayed and wished for a husband that could play piano, thinking that I would love for our babies to fall asleep to beautiful music like I did ( I got that- Thanks God). My mom plays violin primarily, but sings, and also learned piano when she was younger. I went to so many orchestra concerts and loved listening to the music. I begged my parents to let me begin violin and at the age of 5 I finally began. In one of my earlier blog posts I wrote about the fun “concerts” that my family would put on for our neighbors- ( Okay, well really it was more myself and Erik, my brother). I remember being so excited and proud to invite all of our neighbors to our “ Amazing home concert”, and going door to door with little invites I had created. The day finally came and we actually had a lot of neighbors show up to listen- They must’ve really loved us, because it was an interesting concert! Well, my part was actually pretty good, if I remember correctly… haha! Mom and I played some cute little violin duets and I’m sure I was amazing ( I was only 7 or 8 at the time.) But Erik, hmmm… well he decided that he wanted to put on a drum solo for the neighbors, but we didn’t have any drums, so he proceeded to pull every pot and pan out of the cabinets in the kitchen to create his drum kit in the living room. ( I wish I had an old picture to share of these events with you all… I’m sure it would have been a wonderful picture…) It began young with us, Hefta’s ( my maiden name)…we were enrolled in lessons, practiced at home, went to mom’s orchestra concerts, watched concerts…. I was educated in the ways. I had never known a place that didn’t have orchestra- Since my mom played in an orchestra, every place we had moved had orchestras and a great music scene.
As I grew, I continued private lessons in violin and piano, performed in my schools orchestra programs, competing in district and state solo/ ensemble performances, Large Ensemble Contests, Fine Arts Competition at Districts and Nationals, an auditioned youth orchestra, and many various recitals for both instruments. Music was the thing that pushed me, molded me, and captivated me. It still does! Being a part of an orchestra and being in private lessons, taught me to work hard and never give up, how to work with others to achieve something bigger than myself, and how to create something incredibly beautiful and magical. After high school I had the opportunity to travel with an orchestra to Europe and minister and bring the good news of Christ to so many through music.
Music is a universal language. Unlike different languages, there is no barriers or walls with music- It goes far beyond words! It is a way to unify people, to give people a way to relax, to energize people- Music has the capabilities to transform and heal lives! Not only is it a universal language, but it is something for the all ages -young and old! All ages can come together to play and enjoy music!
With March being ” Music in our Schools” month, I try every year to take time and reflect on what music means to me and ask my students what it means to them and why music in our schools is so important to them. I always love their responses- Take a read!
Here are some other posts you might enjoy as well and some have videos included of the special guest performers!
I have the opportunity to use my God given talent and my love of music to shape and mold the lives of many students, but because of budget cuts in other areas of the world, there are so many students who are without music programs in their schools. I am an advocate for music and arts programs, because of all the benefits they have provided me, and because of the person I am today due to these programs. MUSIC IS IMPORTANT AND WE, THE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS, NEED YOUR HELP!
So what can you do to help us?
1. Get involved in your music booster group and/ or volunteer in the classroom.
2. Thank your school principal for supporting your child’s music program and thank a music teacher.
3. Write your local/ national newspaper a letter-to-the-editor about what music has meant for your child.
4. Invite your school board members, country/district supervisors state/national lawmakers to your child’s school concert.
5. Reach out to the local media- Your school music program has a story to tell!
AND IF YOU WANT TO DONATE ANY MONEY TO THE UNDESERVED SCHOOLS TRYING TO PROVIDE MUSIC FOR ALL STUDENTS- DO THAT here
Til Nextime, Erin Ruscel