BY MANDY MIKITA SCOTT
I look at it this way: We’re given this life to do something good, something useful. We have a limited number of minutes in each day to make a living and earn a paycheck. How do we choose to spend our minutes? How we spend our minutes is how we spend our lives.
I am fortunate to have discovered my passion and to wake up truly energized each day to walk into the workplace. I teach high school choir, and every day I get to have fun with teenagers. Sure, we make music, and we talk about vocal technique and music theory. But most of all, I strive to have fun with them every day. Regardless of age, we all learn best by playing. I know that if my students are having fun, they’re also learning.
Some of the most rewarding teaching days are the days in crisis. Whether it is a world crisis (like the earthquake in Haiti) or a crisis close to home (a student passing away), it is an opportunity for students to connect music to life. Music heals, music crosses cultural boundaries, and music is essential to our lives. So often, students come to class on autopilot, disconnected from the world around them. I try to use music to encourage them to feel emotion, connect with others, and start engaging with the world.
I choose to spend the minutes of my days by connecting to young people and leading them to music. My hope is that some of them will be musicians and most of them will be lifelong music lovers. My hope is that they are inspired by my example to find a profession that they truly love. And when they find that calling, my hope is that their lives will be richer because of their love of music. That’s why I teach.