I received a call a while ago. It was from a friend who I have not actually seen or talked to in about 20 or so years. Her name is Amy. She and I danced at the same dance studio. We were both teachers there as well as her twin sister, Andrea. I spent about 9 years at the studio both as a teacher and a student. I didn't start dance until I was 16 right after I had my surgery and recovered for a year. I could not dance or twist or anything like that until I fully recovered. It took a year and I finished my year on December 8. I began taking dance the next month. I loved it right away. I took dance because I wanted to be on Broadway and you definitely needed to learn how to dance. I started teaching vocal at 18, right after I graduated from High School.
I went to the studio that day to sign up for the dance classes. Karen, the owner and director of the studio handed me a schedule. She said that these are the people who are signing up for voice lessons. I was like, what? I had a few students later that week. I think I floated from week to week until about Christmas. I was so stressed about teaching that I want to quit. I never wanted to be a teacher in the first place. I was talking to my mom and she asked me for my lesson plans. I looked at her and said, what lesson plans. Mom was shocked so she taught me how to write lesson plans. This helped a lot. After the first year, I got a better hang of teaching and that helped. It also helped that I was learning how to teach and things like that in school.
I am now very thankful that Karen did what she did as I got very sick and had to drop out of a national tour. Unfortunately, I have never been healthy enough to do any professional performing. I was surprised that after I learned how to plan lessons that I really did enjoy the lessons. For the first 2 years of teaching voice, mom would help me go over what the goals were for each lesson. When I was about 20 or 21, I was hired to start teaching piano. I was very nervous because I had only played for a couple of years. However, the lady at the store who hired me had much more faith in me than I did. I got the beginners books and went through them to see how to approach the music. I think I was the only music major who was excited about taking piano. We didn't have one at home. I had to go to school to practice both piano and voice. It was like that when I went to Macomb and also when I went to Wayne State University.
It really is thanks to Mom that I didn't quit teaching. Now, I know all the piano books so well that I no longer need to write down a lesson plan. The closest thing to that is to write what other music the student will be learning. It is the same thing with the vocal students. Mom was so proud that I was a teacher. When my brothers would ask mom if I was ever going to get a "real" job. Mom's comment was she has a "real" job. It used to drive my brothers crazy for some reason.
Once I started buying music for students and for myself, Mom decided that I needed to organize my music better. She spent Saturday mornings for several months creating my data base. She not only would put the name of the book in, but also listed all the songs that were in the book, who wrote or arranged the songs and what level the music was in. I am so grateful that she did that. On Sundays, Mom would ask me what songs I would need for the week. Yes, I know, talk about spoiled! All I had to do was write the name of the song, who composed it, and the level and she would pull them for me. She would also check back in all the books that I had received back.
It was such a great system. Yes, I still use it. I am not totally up on all my music being listed but I am close. I no longer loan out a lot of the original music because I have had many pieces disappear over the years. Students quit and never return my music. Now, I copy a lot of it for the student and then they use the original for competitions and concerts. Because I am a teacher, I am allowed, by law, to make one copy per student to be used as a teaching tool. I bring all the original music to the events so that we have it.
Sometimes it makes me sad to see her handwriting on the tags and most of the time it makes me smile. I think one of my worst fears is that I will forget mom. I know that it is not a reasonable fear, but I still do worry about it. I am not as organized as my mom but I am learning to be. I am also working on being a better money manager like mom was. I am a lot like my mom except to when it comes to money. For some reason, I used to be so much more materialistic than I am now. Now, I want to have the relationships instead of the things.
Well, it is time to read for a bit. I am hoping that Amy will message me back so we can go and hang out.