Over the summer, I volunteered for the Rock to the Future summer camp. This involved teaching children how to play, read and perform music within only a week. Generally, it seems to be a living nightmare to teach young kids how to play instruments under the pressure of a deadline that lands on the end of the week. I admit that I was nervous upon entering the building; however, it proved to be the highlight of my entire summer.
While I watched the students learn and grow (both socially and musically), I discovered the delight of teaching somebody a skill and watching them–gradually but surely–understand and try. You connect with the students, and they respect you. They begin to ask you to help them, to teach them more than what is expected. That, in itself, is the most refreshing experience that I received over that week.
My students picked up their instruments for the first time on Monday, but Friday was not the last time. After the final showcase that Friday evening, I received a series of long hugs and goodbyes, but also promises – that they will continue to practice their instruments and perhaps participate in the following year’s summer camp.
Although I was not a student in this situation, I still found myself learning, side-by-side with my students. I discovered the different styles of teaching, the different personalities of individuals, different tactics to use when coaching, and, most of all, I discovered myself. – Cheyenne, 15 year old guitarist in MusiCore after school program and volunteer guitar instructor at Rock*A*Delphia and GuitarStars summer camp