We are all influenced by the people that we surround ourselves with. No matter which way you slice the pie of life, every piece of it has been influenced by people that we build relationships with. And some of the most influential people in my life, besides my family, have been my teachers.
The value of education was instilled in me very early on, but when one of your parents is an immigrant to this country and the other is a teacher, what did I expect?! My parents laid the groundwork for my love of learning, and my teachers continued to support my desire to become a lifelong learner. And as luck would have it, my most influential teachers were my music teachers.
For me, music is more than just the career I chose. Music has been a way of healing for me in times of grief. Music has been a language that knows no bounds, and it has connected me to the most incredible people in my life. It has empowered me to express myself without the fear of judgement, and it has done more for me than words can explain.
This is why arts education has become an incredible part of my life. I believe that every student has the ability to dive deep into the arts and to learn the skills they need to be good artists. However, it's not just about teaching new and important skills to my students (even though that is a huge part of their curriculum). At the core of it all, it's about opening their eyes to the world around them, to the possibilities that they have yet to imagine, and to the joy of making music and creating art for the people you love. And more importantly, it's about finding what makes you come alive! And if I have done that, then I have done my job.
This is why I teach, and this is why I became a musician.