Dedications - Students
One of the hardest part of moving back to Singapore is leaving my students. My students have taught me so much, how to be a better teacher, musician, how to have empathy, how to communicate well amongst other life-skills. I treasure the special relationships I've had with each and every one of my students and their families. I've become so comfortable and open with them and know that parents trust me to tell them what's best for their child and to guide their child in his/her musical journey.
Some of my studio families (and my teacher's studio families) at my final DMA Recital
It takes a long time to build a studio with committed families and after many years, this is the point I am at in AZ and I'm very thankful for. I enjoy teaching 100% of my students, they are constantly improving and all love to play the violin. Time flies whenever I teach them and often enough when I say "Ok this is the last thing we'll play today and you're done!" and I will get "What, are you sure it's been an hour?" *checks time* "Why does lesson past by so quickly?" These are students I can teach for hours without feeling tired, their desire to learn and improve makes me feel inspired to teach and help them overcome the challenges of learning the violin. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to work with many of my teacher's high-school students as well, many families I've become incredibly close to, and have been a huge support to me all these years.
Most of my students know that when I get lost in teaching, I really get lost in teaching and have no concept of time at all. I try my best to stay on schedule when I teach students back-to-back, but for my last students of the day.........................it is an entirely different story. I had a student once who told me "I love being the last student because I get longer lessons", it melted my heart and truly as long as I'm not rushing off to another schedule, I don't mind giving them more of my time and attention.
Working on technique with one of incredibly mature and responsive 11-year old student, Tiffany
Some days, like any normal human being, I wake up and dread having to teach for an entire day on the weekend. Who doesn't like more sleep especially if you were binging on youtube/kshows the night before? =) Once I get into my studio and start teaching, I forget all that tiredness and at the end of a long day, I feel more energised, inspired and contented than ever, thankful for my students.
Each child in my studio is so different, the way they learn, the reasons they are learning the violin, the reasons why they love music, what they want to achieve with music and their musical journey and background. Building a relationship with them and guiding them through their journeys, whatever path they choose, is such a joy! I've been asked a couple of times these past few weeks which age group I enjoy teaching the most, and even though I have been teaching kids all ages from 4 and up, teenagers win hands-down. I know this is not the age group many teachers like to deal with, since it's when students are going through puberty and are in the rebellious age. The challenge is huge, but the rewards are even greater. When you make them tick, and they trust you, their progress is usually pretty amazing.
Devon, one of my students who has worked with me for the past 4.5 years, my entire time in AZ!
It makes me proud that all my students love playing the violin for different reasons and all desire to improve. I watch them grow up and become better learners, better practicers and most importantly independent and stronger human beings. My students all learn to practice well to achieve long-term results and over time build patience, resilience and grit. I'm proud of what each and every one of them have achieved through their hard work however short they have studied with me.
Of course, I also had the luxury to watch most of these babies shoot up suddenly to become taller than me. Before this picture was taken at my final DMA recital, my 11 year-old was making it a point to let me know he's now taller than me! =)
There's so much to learn as a music educator and our responsibility is huge. The undivided attention students get with us every week for an hour, something students do not get in schools, can impact their lives immensely in the long-term. I'm constantly striving to be a good role model for my students, like my mentors were for me. It's a blessing to be able to guide them to grow in healthy and balanced ways, always applauding and celebrating their progress and milestones, encouraging them to become confident individuals who are constantly learning and growing yet always keeping them grounded and humble regardless of their achievements.
I'll miss all my students and studio families dearly, but I know they are all in good hands of my colleagues/teacher and will continue to learn and grow really well with their new teachers! =) I'm excited to return to Singapore to start working with new students. Starting afresh is always a challenging experience but I'm ready to see what it brings me!