Every year students in the Dana Rice Music Studio are encouraged to do something special for their school music teacher. Whenever I mention this to them their initial reaction is usually something like, “Why would I do that when I have you? YOU should be the music teacher of the year!” Wow. That really makes me feel good as a music teacher- especially since there are very few (if any) awards designed for private music teachers to receive public recognition for the work they do. However, I also want my students to make connections with what they are learning at school and what they do after school. It is these connections that will help deepen their learning and increase their levels of success. So, I remind them that I am not a SCHOOL music teacher and that there are many things their school music teacher shows them that helps with their piano learning.
This year I decided to give an award and present it at the Big Dreams Concert. Each student was given the opportunity to nominate a school music teacher they have had to receive the award. The great thing about kids is they are very honest. They don’t want to give somebody an award who they think does not deserve it. I am pleased to say that the students have chosen 4 teachers to nominate. These are people they feel inspire them and believe in their dreams. I can remember one particularly inspiring arts teacher of my own, Mr. Hollis Pippin. He went above and beyond his classroom duties to help me follow my dream of being a performing artist. He took a personal interest in my life. As a private music educator this type of relationship comes naturally because we work with students one on one. Music classroom teachers don’t automatically get to have this type of relationship with students because there are so many of them. That is why I believe in recognizing the few music classroom teachers who do manage to build this type of relationship with students.
So, for the very first time at The Big Dreams Concert we will be presenting the Hollis Award (named in honor of the arts teacher I mentioned before) to one of the 4 teachers the students have nominated. The nomination letters have all been delivered and we can’t wait to honor these fantastic teachers at The Big Dreams Concert on Sunday, Dec. 20th at 6pm in Duluth, GA!
Who inspires YOU and how will you honor THEM?