Showing Our Students That We Are Multi-Faceted

When I am with students, I don’t hide from them anything which I think they will learn from.

I share with students some of my plights and the obstacles I have faced.

I observe that if I am transparent with my students about what excites and frustrates my practice, they respond with more genuine and passionate work.

Because I value this honesty and exchange, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to perform a few of my songs in front of my orchestral students last weekend.


– Grace Fellows Performing at the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra Faculty Concert –

I often mention to my students the work I do outside of our sessions. In doing this, I intend to make apparent to them what they can achieve with their time. I will mention to my youth orchestra students the work that I do classically on the violin, but I will also mention making noise music or performing with bands. 

I share these things with them so that they see what may be available to them in this world, and also so that they may better understand what I have to offer them, and what I find joy in personally.

As a student, I make an effort to find things outside of the topic area of the educational environment to ask of my teachers. One teacher enjoy baseball, a certain other is an avid knitter, and a third is a wonderful cook. Seeing the love for something so everyday that these wise people hold makes it possible to relate to even the strictest teacher.

Retroactively, I will often mention these things to my students without much prompting to freely give them something to connect with me on.

An example of this was that once a student of mine answered a question in the form of a direct Winnie the Pooh quote. She was not young, she was around 13. Recognizing the quote, I decided to answer in a quote of my own, to show her not only that she was understood but that I, too, have a perhaps not-so-age-appropriate love for Winnie the Pooh.

Having made the connection, I always make an effort to bring the focus of the student or students back around to the task at hand. It is important to make clear that, although we all have outside interests, our time together is best spent focused on music.

With these moments in mind, last weekend’s experience was not a foreign one. That didn’t make it any less precious.

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