Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day to day: Group Piano

As I sit and write, I have to admit that I'm battling a strain of a virus that has been making its way around our community. I'm on the mend, but I do apologize if this post seems a bit disjointed.

Jumping into a new role in a familiar setting has its challenges. Adjusting to teaching here has included a rather steep learning curve. When I first came to BFA as an RA, I quickly realized that life here involved taking on new things that didn't seem "comfortable". Teaching piano in a group setting  was one of those things for me. When the idea first came up, I wasn't sure it was a great idea. Three weeks in, I'm having a blast and enjoying connecting with the students. As in every classroom setting, every student possesses a different level of musical knowledge, so at this point as I start out, my biggest responsibility is to observe how each student learns. Some are more tactile, some are auditory and some come with a broad base of musical knowledge already. All are seeking to develop their piano skills, and seem to be willing to work hard. We've worked on major scale fingerings, and playing them with both hands together. I've been very pleased to see the progress they've made already! Tuesday they'll each be performing a piece from the Baroque time period, that's new to them this semester. I'm looking forward to hearing them! 

Each day as I stand before my classes, I'm reminded how very "green" I am at all of this. I need to speak more slowly and concisely, I need to ask more than just yes or no questions, and the list goes on. But I've also been very blessed by the patience these students have displayed, and even more so by their eagerness and determination to tackle new material. Music is deeply personal. Not just in the emotions of a powerful performance, but in the struggle and learning process. When we talk about triads and tetrachords in class, I'm reminded of the knot in my stomach the first time I tried to understand why we gave them numbers, and how many times you could invert them. So in all of this, I'm grateful for the learning curve, because with learning comes growth, and I want to grow. I'm grateful for my teachers who taught me in a way that I could in turn teach others, and who modeled good teaching.  

Most of all, I'm thankful for the path that God is charting for me and how He confirms that path, through new friendships, and through the "light-bulb" moments for my students in class, among other things. 

1. He is faithful! I've been continually reminded of that in tangible ways over the last several weeks.
2. When I got here, I received a letter from the German government asking me to file my taxes for 2013. They were confused by my comings and goings and asked that I take care of it as soon as possible. Praise the Lord that this was taken care of quickly! 
3. My small group girls are gradually getting responses to their college applications! 
4. For new friends! I'm so thankful for the people God has brought into my path here. 
5. For YOU!!! Thank you for praying for me, supporting me financially, and for simply being interested in my ministry here!

Prayer Requests:
1. MANY of us in the community are sick; please pray that God will keep us close to Him during this time, that it wouldn't spread any further, and that we would all be well soon!
2. Please pray that I would continue to be sensitive to God's leading each day, in personal relationships, my role in my department, my classes, and with my roommates.
3. Two BFA students traveling to the US this week, one for college auditions, and one for a college up-close visit.
4. Summer plans!!! I can hardly believe it, but it's time to plan for summer and Csehy (!!!). 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 1

For He has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you." So much promise in one simple verse, and spoken by God who never changes. This was close to my heart this week, as I stepped into my first official week of teaching here at BFA. I've been pondering what to write all week, and am eager to share about my first week of teaching!  I've spent the last month working through the curriculum materials made available to me so on Monday I felt as prepared as I knew how to be, and yet still had that 'new teacher' butterfly sensation. This semester, I am responsible for two sections of group piano classes, and Music Appreciation. The students seem eager to learn and I'm looking forward to the challenge of keeping things interesting while progressing according to the course guides. The students have about a week at the beginning of the semester to finalize their schedules, so teaching this week was challenging because class size fluctuated a bit. I think that our discussions in piano class about tetrachords, intervals and scale fingerings were still beneficial, though! 

Through each day, I have been asking God to show me my role here.  I find myself asking Him to show me the individuals who He wants me to encourage or pour into and have been encouraged to see who He sends to my office or guides me to around campus. In addition to classroom teaching and private lessons, I am also co-leading a small group of senior girls. They are bright and enjoyable to be around, and from the first time we met, the showed an eagerness to talk and ask questions about life. Please pray with me for them as they seek God's will regarding their futures. 

On Saturday evening, I had the joy of being a part of the senior recital of a student who is gifted not only in performing on several instruments, but also in musical composition. I was privileged not only to accompany him, but also to assist in the performing of one of his own works. This young man has grown much as a person and a musician over the last several years, so this recital was a huge milestone of personal achievement for him. One of the things I love about music is that it can be so much fun to perform, and this recital was no exception! Accompanying is going to continue to be part of my role here, so you'll be hearing more about those adventures in the coming months.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'd love to hear from you, and learn how I can pray for you so feel free to comment below, or email me by clicking here.

1. My support came in and allowed me to be here!! I know this isn't new, but I'm still VERY thankful!
2. New friendships, and renewed old ones.
3. Wisdom and courage to proceed through the first week of teaching.

Prayer requests:
1. That I will stay close to God, and have deep, rich times of quiet with Him.
2. That I will be able to view the "big picture" for the semester as I teach each day, and help my students progress through new material.
3. That I will use my time wisely and prioritize well as I prepare for classes and work to keep my own musical skills up to par.