Thursday, July 28, 2011

Professors Over Tea

I find that if I make a statemtent like, "Don't expect another post till after the wedding!", it takes the pressure off, and then I actually DO! Don't pee your pants at my two posts in one month.
I was a little disappointed, friends, because I was expecting some feedback about my Etsy idea and alas! none came to me! I would love anyone's input (or advise) about getting started.
This morning, I was reminiscing with my Mama over a cup (or several cups!) of tea, talking about college professors and how much they have influenced my life now, as a teacher. Full circle moment! Obviously, my voice coach from college is the one that I think about the most often, as I use MANY of her encouraging techniques with my students, and just remembering her manner as a teacher has shaped so much of how I handle things. So, that one's obvious.
But not as, shall I say, daily, were my other professors, some of them not even involved in music! I feel like there were a handful of professors who really "got" me, as a person and as a student. They saw that I had the commitment and the drive, and really pushed me to my full potential, without pushing me over the edge. The department head for my college was one; she was also my first piano teacher, repertoire seminar director, and composition and analysis professor, to name a few. She wore many hats! She was also one of those teachers who, absolutely anytime I asked a question or didn't understand, would do everything she could to help me get to understanding. She was never, "Well, that's just how I teach it, so, if you don't get it, too bad!" and I really appreciate that about her. Even in comp and analysis, a class I was WRETCHED at, she saw more of my effort than my actual work sometimes, and that meant so much to me (as I am not a composer, nor am I very analytical when it comes to music - I just love it!). That class was such a stretch for me, and having someone who didn't give up was huge.
Same for my theory prof. DANG, what was I even doing in that class?!? She was one of those who, if you made the effort to get with her outside of class time, she made SURE you did well. She just wanted to make sure the students were as serious about her time as she was. I totally respect that now, when I go into a seemingly packed day of lessons to come out the other side only having two who show up!
I gotta recognize a non-music prof, though (which is funny, because he happens to be quite musical), who had a big impact on me, and looking back, I'm not even sure why. Maybe it was because I had him for my first semester in college - a lot of people from those first few months mean so much to me. Maybe it was because I was always the ONLY person who laughed at his jokes in class. Seriously, the man makes a joke, I giggle a little, or all-out guffaw, and I get 20 blank stares at me from the rest of the class. The man is FUNNY, people. I got the feeling from him that most of his non-major students didn't really work hard, because he always valued my work ethic. And when the end of the final year came, and we were asked to invite one teacher to represent us at a senior ceremony, I chose him. And his speech is something I'll remember forever, I think.
So, today, I recognize my past professors. I almost said "fellow teachers", but that seems so weird to me, to count myself as one of their ranks. They are top shelf. And, honestly, should my 20-year plan pan out, and I become a college professor one day, I hope that they're proud of me. Because they were the inspiration. =)


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