Preparing for the annual recital is always a little nerve-wracking for students and teachers alike. My job as teacher is to focus on the positive by allowing the student to articulate what is going well, not just what needs to be improved. They have come to expect the question, "What did you like about that performance?"
As I finished playing secondo to a bright young girl's primo, I presented the same query. She looked at me with eyes full of delight. "It's music!" she said. This was the first time I had ever heard such a profound response.
Somewhere along the line, we lose sight of the simple joy of making music. Somewhere along the line, we become so concerned about the details of performance that we forget the sheer pleasure and privilege of making music.
Maybe this is why there are so many homemade performances appearing on YouTube. Surely some of these are attempts to gain attention and possibly fame, but I would like to think that there are many people who want to share the joy of making music with the wider world. "Look, I can do this! And I enjoy it!"
As the calendar year closes, I am reminding myself to return to the teaching studio with this motto in my head. Yes, it is my job to guide and correct and cajole and demonstrate. Why? Because it's music.