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Practice

In five years’ time, I will wear colored socks—like the pair that peeks out from beneath the khaki pants of my fourth-hour teacher as he sits atop a stool, listening intently. I will remember craning my neck to watch his foot tapping steadily on the podium, eyes scanning the score before him with voracious concentration. I will remember watching him think—the quiet confidence embodied in the simple wave of his baton, the furrow in his brow as he silenced nearly one hundred young musicians. I will remember the time he told me that a conductor in action uses more brainpower than a spinal surgeon.
I will remember the times when I dreamed of thinking like a music teacher.
I dream now in a classroom at the middle school where I am a student assistant—fixing hand positions, tuning beginners’ instruments, and learning much more than teaching. The only time I have changed a student’s string was nearly disastrous, and the only time I have used a baton was after school, before several rows of empty chairs.
At first, dreaming was the only word I could find to describe it. When I walk into the classroom and see smiles spread across the students’ faces, however, I know it is something much more.
Now, I call it “practice.”
I could never sufficiently thank my music teachers for all that they have taught me. In about five years, however, I will unlock the door to my own classroom—a place where I can bring their lessons into the lives of others with my own style of teaching. With my former conductor in mind, I may call my students “cockroaches” when they raise their hands without bending their arms. I will believe in the violinist on the third row even though her posture is terrible, and I will drop my baton all too often. When I set up my students’ chairs to begin the day, I will remember all of the lessons I have carried from my middle school students. And when I uncap a dry erase marker to write on the board, I will think of my very first orchestra director and the words she shared with us as we began our first year in her classroom: “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” I will share this thought with my students so that it may carry them in the same way that it has carried me through six wonderful and challenging years of Orchestra.
My orchestra room will be a testament to all who have influenced me, and my heartfelt offering to the world.





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