I’ve been teaching the clarinet for 32 years. Like all new educators, I wasn’t great at first and there were bumps in the road, lessons learned, and things I wished I could do over. But over time, as I grew into a confident and creative teacher, I recognized that I was not only teaching music but life lessons too, an unexpected bonus for me.
Much of what I was teaching in a lesson had nothing to do with playing the instrument. Of course, I was explaining embouchure, breathing, fingering, music reading, and articulations – I expect that of anyone who teaches for a living. But I found that the kids needed me to be their advocate, their champion, their sounding board, their safe place to fall, and sometimes their role model. I found myself showing how practicing strategies can be applied to studying for science class, how playing an audition for honors band is similar to giving a speech when running for student council, how even the smallest step in the right direction is progress, how being proud of an accomplishment doesn’t make one arrogant, and how messing up a chair test doesn’t have anything to do with one’s worth as a human being. I listened without judgement to their friend drama, occasionally offering stories of my own teen years with some seasoned words of advice. One time I found myself buying food for a child who confided in me that she hadn’t eaten in two days and another time I found myself calling Child Protective Services for abuse at home so horrific that I still feel nauseous when I think about it.
While music will always be an integral part of who I am, it is not all I am. As a lifelong learner, I’ve cultivated new areas of expertise by becoming a certified health and wellness coach, a meditation and mindfulness practitioner, and a teen life coach. As I embark on the “second half” of my life, I’m excited to bring all these important areas together as an Empowerment Coach for Teens, using the skills I’ve learned through teaching, coach training, and my life experiences. I’m honored to guide teens to find their own truth while respecting their right to their own opinions and decisions. For teens to make positive change, they need someone to listen attentively and without judgement, holding space for them while offering guidance on developing, implementing, and meeting stated goals. In my practice, teens feel empowered and safe and parents have an ally. At Mindful Health and Harmony, we navigate this crazy time together as partners, growing piece by piece into a more intentional, healthy, and harmonious version of ourselves.