• Jenny Ferris

New Year's Resolutions


It's that time of year again (namely, the start of a new one!) and everyone I know has been discussing their New Year's Resolutions.

And of course, you hear the usual goals of eating better, finally hitting the gym or learning a new language (I've been giving Hungarian a go in preparation for study at the Institute - it's hard!)

But it's also got me thinking about my New Year's Resolution regarding work and that is to do something every day that reminds me why I love music.

Because, as much as we love our day jobs of teaching, there can be days that are hard. Days that leave us feeling drained and utterly uninspired and ready to throw in the musical towel. If you're bogged down with reports, have had a ratty class, timetabling clashes, an unexpected observation or just had to sing "Bee, Bee" for the thousand-and-eleventh time, there can definitely be days where we come home from work not feeling the love for music.

And isn't that the crux of our whole position? As Kodaly says, we must "teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime.”

It can be a little hard to do that when we ourselves aren't joyful about music. I know I have definitely had some days like this towards the end of the school year and I could feel the effect it had on my teaching (it wasn't a positive one!)

So this new year I am endeavouring to do something each day to remind myself why I love music.

It might be any one of the following ideas below:

Community Music

I have been making more of an effort to engage with the musical community (I sing in, of all things, a sea shanty choir and also frequently gig as a freelance pit musician for local theatre productions)

Self Practice

engaging in my own music making - for the last 2 years I've been taking piano lessons to get better at accompanying my choirs and students, as well as just for my own enjoyment. Making sure I get some quality practice in (as well as playing a little something for my own enjoyment) always refreshes my passion for music.

Musical Baths

I once heard Monte Mumford (a renowned conductor from a proud wind band tradition) talk about the concept of "musical baths" - namely, listening to a piece of great music in order to wash away the mundane sounds of a day of teaching. The squawks of beginner clarinets, the squealing of recorders, the incessant clanging of glockenspiels or even just a day filled with nothing but so & mi - these are all good sounds because they are the sounds of learning happening, but if we only ever fill our ears with these sounds, we start to forget what we are aiming towards and what our students' end goal should sound like.

So whether it's Bach or The Beatles, make yourself a playlist of all the music that gives you chills, that raises the hairs on the back of your neck and still makes you say "wow!" after your 500th listening. Chuck it on in the car on the way home from work and wash away your day.

What ways do you reinvigorate your love of music? Drop us a line at jenny@kodalycrafts to let us know!


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