The Rain Finally Seems to have Stopped

This rain has been out of control. And all the flooding is just terrible. We’ve had some garage flooding, but nothing too bad, thankfully, but I have friends who have definitely had worse situations and I am thankful the rain has finally stopped!

It’s been a busy time, as I always tell you. And I’m worn out. I just want to lie around and read, or go and walk around in the sun (finally sunny again today!). I don’t want to work, or worry about the future of our country and my health care…I’m tired!

I am basically on a semi-summer vacation, which is fabulous. I finished up at Lindenwood on Monday, and I’ve just got a small amount of grading to do still, but then that’s it until next fall! As for Wash U, I guess I have one more student left to teach, and I already submitted my grades. This week was jury week for some of the students (all at Lindenwood, one at Wash U) and it was nice to see the students perform and demonstrate the work they’d put in. I think every one of them could have practiced more, but I suppose most teachers think that, always.

And then Wednesday night I taught a lesson to a student who is graduating and found myself getting quite sad—he’s been my student for 4 years and is going away to college, and I started worrying that I hadn’t encouraged him enough, or that I should have pushed him towards a double major, or insisted he get a better violin…but the fact really is: he teaches himself, mostly, because he is one of the only students I have that actually puts in the hours of practice time needed, and if he wants to double major, he will. Nothing I have done will stop him! And he knows he could use a better violin, but it’s always a question of money. And I am just not going to be pushing students to go into music. I encourage them to be the best violinists they can be, but no one should be pushed to major in music, because the career path is just exceedingly difficult, and should only be navigated by somebody who insists upon it!

I don’t know though. I do doubt myself a lot…that is to say, on whether I’m doing a good job teaching. I’m easy going and I want them to have a good time. I don’t yell, I don’t tell them how terrible they are, I don’t pit them against each other. I don’t believe that music should be a competitive sport, and I hate that the orchestra audition circuit has made it so…but for a 7th or 8th grader there is absolutely no need for them to be stressed out about making mistakes. So then they think I’m soft…or that I’m not picky enough. I suppose you can’t please everybody all the time!

Anyway, just rambling. I am constantly learning and thinking about my philosophy and my methods of teaching, and how I’m interacting with my students. I hope it makes me a better teacher, always adjusting and reacting. I’ve learned a ton this year teaching at two colleges (and really enjoyed it!), and look forward to starting again in the fall (after refreshing over the summer)!

Scenes from the last week…Friends of Music Concert and a Rally. Fun stuff included dinner with April after the concert and a three course Italian dinner for Restaurant Week on the Hill. And reading: I’m well into a long series of mysteries by Mary Daheim, called the Bed-and-Breakfast Series. They are silly but fun. Sometimes it’s nice to read a long series where the characters become like friends.

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Always up for more, as you know! Though I’m planning a most-excellent summer of fun interspersed with gigs and teaching. Hiking, biking, camping, and more…

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