Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tuesdays with Mr. M

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A student approached me at my school about five months ago; I’ll call him “Mr. M.” He wanted me to teach him to play guitar.

Now, I’d never taught someone to play guitar before – not really. I mean, I’d had small groups of students in an after-school class for eight or nine weeks, meeting once every seven days, but that was the extent of my musical teaching experience. I put Mr. M off, telling him that it would have to be approved with his parents before I agreed to any such type of undertaking.

His mom contacted me later that day, indicating her excitement that I’d be teaching her son to play—if I were indeed willing.

I won’t lie; I felt a trifle overwhelmed at the prospect and sorely contemplated telling Mr. M that I was too busy to teach a private guitar lesson each week. Considering my then-current schedule, fitting a 30-45 minute session in each week was going to be a stretch; as Bilbo Baggins so eloquently put it, it would be “like butter scraped over too much bread.”

However, I instead began to think of lessons which could extend into the coming year; the easiest and most common chords and strumming patterns, and easy songs I could teach him that were not only a little bit corny (just to keep it real), but some that were pretty cool, too.

I’ve been a music teacher now since around Christmastime.

There’s something magical about every Tuesday afternoon when school lets out, and ‘Mr. M’ runs to get his guitar when I arrive at his house. He is always anxious to show me what he’s practiced for the week, and I’m amazed just how far he’s come over these last few months, when before this he knew nothing.

Each week I watch this boy get better, and I think of what is being left behind. There will come a time when I will step out of his life. He will move on to a better—more advanced—teacher, but the foundation of what he’s learned will always be there. There is something about this type of bond that cannot be bought. It cannot be purchased with all the gold in the world. There is a feeling that cannot be created in any other way when one instills a portion of oneself into the life of another.

Dare I admit that Tuesdays with Mr. M are my favorite day of the week?

Because they are.

I’m thankful that a young boy had the courage to ask his previous teacher for something most students wouldn’t ever think to do.

Tuesdays with Mr. M are always melodious—even on those weeks when he doesn’t practice as much as he should have.

Click here if you'd like 
to hear us playing together:




Just kidding, that wasn't us really playing, that was a clip from the movie August Rush. We're not quite that good yet...

23 comments:

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

I love how good you are to your students.

Laura Anne said...

So awesome, it must be hard being so awesome huh? :) Adore those photos.

Brett said...

Words do not exist that explain how powerful this is.

Richard & Natalie said...

You are inexplicably awesome! And that Mr. M is just so danged cute. Wonderful post.

Roberta said...

During my awkward, painful, high school years my band teacher made school tolerable for me. In all honesty, looking forward to those 2hours that I had band and chorus were the only reasons I made it to school some days. Last week I attended his funeral. I loved that man. He made such an impact on my life. I will be forever grateful for him.

Karen Peterson said...

You never cease to amaze me. You with all your talents and patience and stuff. I'm sure that kid knows how lucky he is to have you.

Mamma has spoken said...

His guitar is huge compaired to him!
I thought it was you doing most of the playing and him doing the random cord here and there.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Dude!, you had me going there!. lol
Those photos are priceless.. He does have chutzpah - good for him... and its nice that you took him under your wing...

Connie said...

The more I learn about you, the more impressed I am!

tammy said...

What a cute kid. You had me going for a minute.

Rachel said...

Don't be so modest. That was totally you and Mr. M playing! I should know. :D

Dorkys Ramos said...

That's so wonderful of you to teach him and how dedicated of him to want it this badly at such a young age. Cute photos by the way. I love how big that guitar is next to him, ha!

Found you through Karen; congrats on the spotlight! Well deserved for someone so selfless.

CJ said...

Its kind of amazing how far someone can go when you offer them a small section of your life - and also kind of sad when it ends. Kudos to you!

Cheeseboy said...

That is cool. I do hope he appreciates you. It is, after all. teacher appreciation week.

Can you teach me guitar?

Miss Griffiths said...

Cute kid! I still remember some of the songs my guitar teacher taught me - he left quite an impression, too.

becca said...

what a wonderful post my son takes guitar lessons and he adores his teacher he loves the time they soend together.

Rachel said...

LOL! I just showed this to Mr. M. He sat here with a puzzled look on his face and then said, "That isn't me." I asked him if he was sure and he said, "That so isn't me. I'm not that good. I wish but..."

:D

Cherie said...

You are so talented and such a good person to share those talents. You have definately figured out what is good in life.
The pictures are great - I love the one with the kid wearing the sunglasses :-D

Jennee said...

Very cool. I've always wanted to take lessons and my brother is taking some. He really loves it. Great pictures as well.

M said...

Very profound about instilling a portion of oneself into another.

I hope that I am someone who does that in a postive way every day.

Great post

Valerie said...

The pics are so sweet! I've been teaching piano, and love the magic of watching a child express themselves through music. Good reminder to sit back and enjoy it.

troismommy said...

Great pictures. What a lucky pair - the both of you!

Anonymous said...

I just happened to jump to this post from an SDL that you had commented on, and I must say..fate must have intervened or something. I am a music teacher in training and you pretty much listed the reasons why I decided to teach music instead of English. Trust me, later in life he will look up those lessons as some of the happiest times in his life (like I do now from a similar situation).

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