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Striking the Right Note: Balancing Person-Centric Teaching and Musical Education


To my fellow music educators:


In the pursuit of nurturing young talents and shaping the musicians of tomorrow, you play a pivotal role that extends far beyond imparting musical knowledge. The delicate balance between teaching people first and music second can sometimes leave you questioning whether you're striking the right chord. This insecurity, stemming from prioritizing musical achievements over personal growth, is more common than you might think. In this heartfelt message, let's explore the importance of embracing this approach and how it ultimately enriches both your students and your journey as educators.


1. A Holistic Approach to Education:

It's perfectly natural to have concerns about focusing too much on the "person" rather than the music. However, understand that the foundation of any great musician lies in their character and values. By nurturing qualities like discipline, empathy, and resilience, you're not only shaping future artists but also well-rounded individuals capable of navigating life's complexities.


2. Cultivating Lifelong Learners:

Music is a vessel through which knowledge and creativity flow, but it's crucial to remember that your role extends beyond the classroom. By teaching people first, you're sowing the seeds of curiosity and lifelong learning. These are qualities that will serve your students well as they continue to explore and adapt to new challenges in both music and life.


3. Overcoming Insecurity with Impactful Outcomes:

The feeling of not "teaching enough music" due to focusing on personal development is understandable. However, the beauty lies in the transformative impact you're creating. When you instill values, self-expression, and emotional growth, you're shaping musicians who can truly connect with their audience on a deeper level, making your efforts resonate in their lives and experiences.


4. Celebrating Diversity and Unity:

In a world where diversity is paramount, your focus on teaching the person first contributes to a harmonious learning environment. By valuing individuality, you're fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity that transcends musical notes. The unity that stems from embracing differences enhances the collective learning experience.


5. Empowering Through Well-being:

As educators, you're not just imparting knowledge; you're also nurturing well-being. Music has the power to heal and uplift, and by prioritizing the person, you're teaching your students to harness the therapeutic benefits of music, promoting their mental, emotional, and physical health.


In conclusion, remember that your journey as a music educator is an extraordinary one, rich with opportunities to impact lives. Whilst the balance between teaching people first and music second may feel delicate, it's this very balance that enables you to mold individuals who will go on to create beautiful music and make a positive mark on the world. Embrace the insecurities as signs of your commitment to holistic education, and trust that you're shaping more than just musicians – you're shaping futures.


To your musical (and human) success,

Joao Figueiredo

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