One of my students had her last lesson with me yesterday, and it got me thinking about the role that music plays in my students' lives.
Some of my kids are very dedicated and have incorporated music and the flute into themselves as part of their identity. Others think it's fun to play and just want to be able to perform a little better in their school band program. I treat both types with equal respect and give the same quality of information to both.
When I first started out as a private teacher, I took it as a sign of personal failure if a student decided to discontinue taking lessons. This was a good instinct on my part; self-examination is how we learn and improve. What I failed to recognize at the time, however, was that most of the time when a student doesn't want to pursue private lessons, it's usually because they don't have enough time or money to continue.
I've been lucky enough to have students who remain in my studio for a long time, so when one of them does have to leave, it's usually under good circumstances even though it's always a little bittersweet to see them go.
So this week, I just wanted to remind everyone--and myself--that not everyone has to pursue music to the collegiate level in order to have it mean something to them.