20 Reasons to Thank a Music Teacher

In honor of Music In Our Schools Month, here are 20 reasons to thank a music teacher.

1. They taught you practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. If you keep repeating the same passage incorrectly, then you’re ultimately learning it wrong.

2. They taught you hard work pays off when you practice.

3. They taught you that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life and there’s no need to say “sorry” after every wrong step/note.

4. They taught you that after you make a mistake, you keep going and no one will notice.

5. They push you past your limits to show how far you can go. “Reset! One more once!”

6. They are the perfect example of how to stay positive in stressful situations. They didn’t make a face after a wrong note but on the inside a little piece of their soul is dying… one flat note at a time.

7. They taught you rhythm. Now no one can make fun of you for having bad rhythm! (Unless you’re a drummer, ba dum tss!)

8. They taught you to be a member of a group/ensemble. Blend and balance can make or break an ensemble.

9. They taught you how to be a leader/soloist. If you can nod your head and breathe at the same time, you can cue more than one person in.

10. They gave you confidence. Music is not for the faint of heart.

11. They encouraged the best out of you.

12. They do a lot for very little means. Most public school music teachers come in early before school starts to rehearse, fix instruments, etc. and stays after school (hours at a time) to give lessons and rehearse more. These extra hours are rarely accounted for in a teacher’s salary.

13. They taught you that silence is a beautiful thing. Rests are just as important as the notes.

14. They helped you understand fractions before you even learned what fractions are. Yes, a 16th is smaller than an 8th. Two quarter (notes) fit in half (note).

15. They taught you what self discipline is. If you know you’re playing the note wrong, then stop and fix it.

16. They taught you how to take responsibility for yourself. It’s important to bring your violin to your violin lesson or your trumpet to school when you know you have band class.

17. They taught you how to conquer your fears. Auditions are just as nerve racking as asking someone to the prom but if you give it your all then they can’t possibly say no!

18. They taught you a skill in which can stimulate the entire brain. “Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.” – Elena Mannes, The Power of Music

19. They taught you there’s always room for improvement. Constructive self-criticism is an important part of growing up.

20. And most importantly, they taught you how to not just listen to music, but experience it.

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  • Gail Hohes Randall

    At this time in my life, I have MANY music teachers / band directors / music ministers for whom I will always be grateful….but especially my family! my parents, Sylvester Garland Hohes and Robbye Ruth Holt Hohes, taught me to love and participate in classical and sacred music for as long as I can remember! I love knowing they are making music in heaven now, as they are crown jewels of my music life!

    • sueonmusic

      Of course parents play a huge role along side our teachers! I’m so glad they were able to instill music into your life.

  • Jeannette Affleck

    Putting me into band in grade 7 was the best thing my parents ever did for me and now we have the opportunity to pass it onto our grandchildren. Agree with all of the above but my favorite is #18.

    • sueonmusic

      No.18 has been a crowd favorite! Music is one of the few things that will be passed down generation to generation which is what makes it so beautiful.

  • Andy Duke

    I am largely self taught, but the two teachers I did have in the very distant past were integral to my ongoing love of learning music, now performing on an ever widening range of instruments and I am eternally grateful for the peace, good feeling healing vibe music has provided me at times in my life. I have even briefly taught music myself now in an amateur way although my left handedness has limited the number of people interested in learning from me,. However without music teachers perhaps I would never have gone so far down this track. I’ll never forget either of them for their love, encouragement and support of a small boy with a passion for music.

    • sueonmusic

      Hey Andy, I checked out your blog and love it. I play ukulele as well along with violin and other stringed instruments. Thanks for commenting and sharing your story 🙂

  • Bert Bostic

    I look back now at the caring and patient nature my piano teacher was through 12 years of endless lesson and could never thank her enough.

    My choir directors not only inspired me to sing but instilled in me the desire to be in awe of what can be accomplished in a group when their voices minds and hearts are aligned with one another.

    Most of all they helped me to understand the beauty music brings to the world of listeners.

  • Mags

    I agree no. 18 is my favourite 2. Music stimulates the brain and is amazing with older people who have retired into their own little worlds. Play them music from their era and see them come alive with their memories. They deep, deep sleep I go into when music is playing is very refreshing. I feel my life would be empty without music as it nourishes me on so many levels; calming, invigorating, making me want to dance and sing. It plays in my head and I can visualise the notes and how the piece comes together .

  • Joe Harris

    Started playing the Clarinet when I was in 4th grade. It took over my whole life. My music teachers were the people who gave me confidence and helped me when ever I needed it. They made me what I am today. I am 66 years old and still play and teach the Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute. I would do it all over again.

    • sueonmusic

      So many others share the same story and it makes me so happy to hear that no one has ever regretted learning an instrument!

  • Sussane Towers

    Actually “Practice makes Perfect” is a misquote – the real quote is “Perfect Practice makes Perfect” which works a lot better.

  • paulette

    Really enjoyed this and love music now more than ever. This includes variety. I always loved it even as a child. Great article

  • Jeri Reed Carlton

    Music is so important. I’m so sad that the schools don’t see the need to give funding to music programs, be it choirs for sheet music or bands for instruments and sheet music, as they do for sports programs. Music is not just for the nerds and sports for the jocks as so many people think. Music is universal !!!! Thank you Doug Schaffer my choir director of Flushing High School, Flushing, MI. Class of 1973.

    • sueonmusic

      Love the shout out! Unfortunately, we are in a society where the arts are put on the third tier (under academics and sports). Hopefully, non-profits and everyday people like us can help change that soon!

  • Choi Olandesca

    “Practice makes permanent”! I have always loved this quote from the first time that I read this from an article about tips on practicing. Very much applicable to life as well! Thank you, Lord for the gift of talent, skill and music and thank you for people who makes articles like this which celebrates the glory of, not just being a music teacher, but being a great educator!

  • Andrew Justin Justiniano

    On the beginning God gave us talent and the love of music. Our parents is a gift that God gave us whom they implant this music in our heart. They are truly composer who made hundreds or thousand of special music that no one could ever think every time we go to bed when we are a baby….Next is our teacher who guide us to the right path and inspired us to be good leader and follower.

  • John Hornbeck

    I thank my father for making me join the high school choir. I thank Mr. Herbert Teat for showing me the possibilities of what singing in a choir could provide and giving me the confidence to sing. I thank Dr B. R. Henson for giving me the tools and desire to learn so that I might be better equipped to help teach others. I thank Mr. Charles Nelson for increasing my desire to become a better teacher. And last, but not least, I thank my students for teaching me every day on how to become a better teacher.

  • Marj Nelson

    General music teachers teach math (put in the bar line after 4 counts, what kind of note do we need to finish this measure, make up your own rhythm, etc.).

    They also teach history and social studies (i.e., the background behind the composition of the Star Spangled Banner or our state song).

    Let’s not forget science (how music is produced by vibration) and language (singing in foreign languages and sign language as well as poetry and proper grammer).

    When I taught, I always tried to supplement what was being learned in the regular ed classroom by teaching lessons that would reinforce their curriculum.

  • Pat in Belgium

    I want to honor two incredible music teachers who certainly impacted on my life (as well as the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of students): Jesse Blum of Ponce de Leon Junior High and William Ledue of Coral Gables Senior High, both in Miami, Florida.
    Both are gone now but their influence lives on in the many talented (professional as well as amateur) musicians as well as music teachers they inspired. I happen to be neither (I’m a visual artist & former journalist), however, I am profoundly grateful.
    I mean, we played (and well, I must add!) Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 (arranged for band as opposed to orchestra) in high school, for heaven’s sake! Fourteen, 15, 16-year-old kids! Who DOES that!?!

    • kira willig

      To Pat in Belgium. Thank you for your kinds words about my grandfather, Jesse Blum! We miss him very much.

  • Jami Lupold

    My brother and I are so lucky to have grown up with excellent music teachers as parents: Bill & Pat Surface. They instilled in us a beautifully colourful world immersed in music. We are both musicians and music teachers with passion for excellence in every thing we do. Thanks Mom & Dad! Jami & Dean

  • Clark Bell

    Jackie Hensel played the piano while I was playing with her kids in their house. Opal Beville started me on trumpet in grade 5, Walter Feldman ushered me through Jr. High Band, Fred McCall gave me his work ethic and some growing up lessons, Arden Richards taught me about leadership when parents don’t necessarily like you. Harold Bachman and Reid Poole shepherded me thru the Gator Band experience with lots of opportunities to succeed as well as fail with grace. Lots of band leaders and fellow teachers gave me inspiration and guidance by example. I could go on for hours about the wonderful people who , thru music, have touched my heart and my life. It is continuing even now as I experience my 83rd year. Bill Prince and Doris Hotaling gave me much to love.God loves music and musicians. I know because he has surrounded my life and my family with music.

  • Damian

    Everybody is always quick to defend sport as instilling ‘teamwork’ . But sport always has to have a winner & loser (to get round the negativity of losing kids are told ‘it’s all about the taking part’) what they don’t realise is that playing music in an ensemble, particularly orchestra, is the largest team game-but success does not depend on someone else losing or failing. What better example for kids than a team game where everyone is involved and works towards the ‘success’ of a performance.

  • Melanie Kupchynsky

    Thank you for this list! I was so grateful to my music teacher dad that I wrote a whole book about him, thanking him and all teachers and mentors for the work they do. I would love for you to read “Strings Attached:One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations” by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky.

  • ruth jacobs spector

    If sensitively taught and willingly received , music is the greatest vehicle for educating every part of the human body, psyche, soul and the creative spirit through personal persistent effort. Finally enrichment comes by your own inherent creative voice.
    Music is a Food of Life! Join the club!

  • Angela

    With everyone on No. 18! It puts me in mind of a Zoltan Kodály quote which basically says music reaches parts of the soul nothing else does. Isn’t that true! A big thank you to the many teachers past and present who have shown me the way, I am eternally grateful.

  • Dee Halley

    My Angel of Music was my dad, Jack Irwin. He was the high school band director. And bless his heart, he started me on violin in 1st grade(which I didn’t like-too screechy),, clarinet in 3rd grade(too squeaky), and told me to choose something, please! I chose French horn(in 6th grade) because it was in band, orchestra and marching band and was rare enough that it was special. I was able to get into district, regional & state band and orchestra festivals in Pa. Band made high school special. I just turned 60 and play the horn he gave me in 11th grade. We play at church & in Pittman Hobo Band. My 3 boys learned trumpet and one switched to horn. He got into the DE National Guard band & paid part of his college tuition. Music enriches lives and is passed through generations. It is a universal language.

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  • Jemma

    I love this list, it’s very inspirational and has really made me think a little more in-depth about my teaching and what I want to achieve both as a teacher and performer. There is a helpful article for people considering a career as an instrumental teacher that I found below. It gives practical tips but also stresses the importance of making lessons fun, allowing the student freedom to express themselves and how teaching helps you grow as a musician and human being too! Probably well-covered ground but positive reading anyway.

  • Connie Rodríguez

    I would like to thank my choir teacher Miss McCarey in Anchorage Alaska. She was my favorite teacher ever.

  • Virgil Beene

    As a retired band director, I am proud to say I fit the criteria! Ask my former students. And I finished my career with 35 minutes of instructional time per day. Still had sweepstakes bands in Texas!

  • Biplab Poddar

    “They taught you how to conquer your fears. Auditions are just as nerve racking as asking someone to the prom but if you give it your all then they can’t possibly say no!” Completely agree with you.
    I like this so much 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m currently working on the f# minor nocturne! they’re beautiful pieces.
    Don’t get me wrong, you have to be strong and confident to be successful in just about anything you do – but with music, there’s a deeper emotional component to your failures and successes. If you fail a chemistry test, it’s because you either didn’t study enough, or just aren’t that good at chemistry (the latter of which is totally understandable). But if you fail at music, it can say something about your character. It could be because you didn’t practice enough – but, more terrifyingly, it could be because you aren’t resilient enough. Mastering chemistry requires diligence and smarts, but mastering a piano piece requires diligence and smarts, plus creativity, plus the immense capacity to both overcome emotional hurdles, and, simultaneously, to use that emotional component to bring the music alive.
    Before I started taking piano, I had always imagined the Conservatory students to have it so good – I mean, for their homework, they get to play guitar, or jam on their saxophone, or sing songs! What fun! Compared to sitting in lab for four hours studying the optical properties of minerals, or discussing Lucretian theories of democracy and politics, I would play piano any day.

    But after almost three years of piano at Orpheus Academy, I understand just how naïve this is. Playing music for credit is not “easy” or “fun” or “magical” or “lucky.” Mostly, it’s really freakin’ hard. It requires you to pick apart your piece, play every little segment over and over, dissect it, tinker with it, cry over it, feel completely lame about it, then get over yourself and start practicing again. You have to be precise and diligent, creative and robotic. And then – after all of this – you have to re-discover the emotional beauty in the piece, and use it in your performance.

  • Pawar Jyoti

    Great Guidance ! Thanks for sharing brilliant tips. this is really very helpful information.This blog is very nice for those who wants to become a music teacher or wants to do career in this field. It gives the relevant information about it.thanks for sharing.

  • Stephen Koscica

    Playing and studying music teaches us so much more about life: How to get along with people around you, blending in for a common goal and cooperation. Also that hard work pays off! You practice and chip away at things, eventually showing (and teaching) you that doing so, you take and make the effort for your own improvement. Hard pays off.

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