Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why I Teach Music

I am so happy to be posting about such an important subject this week. This is something that has actually been on my mind a lot this school year and I’m excited to be able to share my personal experiences along with some fabulous other bloggers. I’ve chosen to share some photos from my personal Instagram account to illustrate this post. Make sure to read all the way through to the end to find out the details about the giveaway!

I am currently in my fifth year of teaching, which means I am still a relatively new teacher. In college, they told us that most of us would not last longer than five years teaching in the public schools. As I approach that deadline, I can understand why some people would feel that way.

Teaching music is a hard and often thankless job. Many of us balance our regular teaching responsibilities with the added stress of preparing concert programs and special events in the school. We spend our planning time working individually with students and going to meetings to learn how to better meet their needs. We teach hundreds of children every week and have to figure out how to share the joy of music with them. Hopefully we do so in a way that will motivate them to continue listening to, performing and creating music for the rest of their lives.
"But what is it that makes us keep coming back? For me, it is the same reason I started in the first place: I love making music!"
However, despite all of the stressful and challenging factors I just mentioned, we keep going. We return to the trenches day after day. But what is it that makes us keep coming back? For me, it is the same reason I started in the first place: I love making music! To me there is no greater joy than learning a new piece and performing it in front of an audience.

When I first moved to the Baltimore area and started teaching, my school responsibilities overwhelmed my life. As a brand new teacher, I spent every spare minute after work and on weekends planning lessons and searching for the best ways to reach my students. Now that I have at least a few years under my belt, I feel more confident in my daily teaching responsibilities. I am able to spend my time outside of school taking care of myself and doing something that I truly love.

I have started a new professional venture this year that has reminded me why I wanted to be a music teacher... I joined the Baltimore Choral Arts Society!

It’s by far the best decision I’ve made to improve my personal outlook and improve my teaching. I am going to rehearsals every week and performing regularly with ensembles like the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. I am learning new, challenging repertoire as well as singing choral standards like Orff’s Carmina Burana and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Every rehearsal and performance is a reminder of why I do what I do: because music is a powerful emotional and communicative force.

The more time I spend perfecting my craft outside of school, the more confident I feel in teaching music to my students. I feel renewed and refreshed. I love being able to tell my students about my rehearsals and performances because it shows them that teachers are lifelong learners. I also love being able to invite my friends and family to come hear my concerts and share my artistic endeavors with them.

A photo posted by rachel t on

Singing with Choral Arts has also motivated me to do some self-care by staying conscious of how I use my voice during the school day. Since I am singing semi-professionally I need to take good care of my instrument and practice good vocal hygiene. I am paying much more attention to how I conserve my speaking and singing voice and I use amplification while teaching. Most importantly, I am trying my best to stay properly hydrated! This is so important for people who use their voice constantly.

For me, singing with Choral Arts has been exactly the reminder I needed of why I teach music. I’d love to hear about why you, my dear readers, are in the music education field! Share your story on social media with this hashtag:


Don't forget to include this link back to my blog so that others can enter, too!

If you comment on my post here or share it on social media, you will be entered into a giveaway to win the following prize:

  • A water bottle to help you make sure you stay hydrated while you’re teaching
  • Some Mozart chocolates because every teacher needs a little pick-me-up. 
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love that you're getting to perform! I miss being in an ensemble so much! I might have to start looking up community ensembles now!

    1. It really has made all the difference. I hope you find one you like!

  2. I, too, am a wee bit jealous that you are singing. With teaching, blogging, writing books, and oh, yeah, family and kiddo, I have no time to perform and MISS. IT. TERRIBLY! When my daughter is older and has more going on in her life I will go back to it... I hear the stage calling!
    Thanks for a great post!!

  3. I'm not a performer in the slightest but I have found fresh inspiration/motivation in playing percussion at my church every week. It's less like "performing" than using my instrumental skills in "participating" with what everyone else is doing, and it brings me so much joy! Thank you so much for sharing #whyiteachmusic- your prize looks like the perfect pick-me-up! Love it! :)

  4. I am teaching in year 44 in the same school district. Why? Still so passionate about all human beings having a chance to enjoy their singing voices the way I have been blessed to enjoy in my lifetime. I'm saddened by the number of adults who never sing, say that they "can't sing", are embarrassed to be heard, and feel like if they aren't good enough to be on one of those TV talent competitions they shouldn't be caught singing in church. I'm a bit of a feisty protester when it comes to this subject, and will never stop trying to get the population confidently singing. I know that if we don't work on these attitudes while they are young it will be too late. I've got to hope/believe that if a bit of singing pleasure sticks in the hearts of my hundreds of students after they leave me, I will have made a difference in the lives of many.

  5. I am like you- I love teaching because I love making music! And that's so great that you are performing too! Thank you for sharing your journey!

  6. I love how you found a way to do music outside of school that enhances your life!

  7. Finding a choir to sing with has been one of my strategies, too. I really needed a creative outlet where I was NOT in charge! Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. I love that you have connected to making music again as well as teaching music. Whenever I feel stagnant in my teaching, I need only look at myself to solve the problem. Am I still learning? Am I still growing? Making music is the perfect way to continue to learn and grow! (Now time to practice my ukulele!)

  9. I also found a choir to sing with. It keeps my ideas fresh and the performance aspect is something I was really missing my first few years teaching. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I just love children and music, so this has been a welcome career choice for me!

  11. I always knew I'd be a teacher, then I discovered making music... I'm so grateful to have a career that I love!

  12. I sing in our local Bach society.t is nice to make music professionally and to connect to other teachers and musicians in the community. I wanted to be a broadway star but fell in love with elementary music. I love seeing The lightbulb that goes on in their eyes when they master a new concept. My kiddos feel so proud and accomplished when they do something they could not do before

  13. I would like to join a local choir; I worry that I'd not have enough time to be the best teacher that I can. I teach with a goal to reach...students who are looking to find their voice, who can discover their unique potential and value, who can find the joy of music.

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