Lessons in Learning: Let Your Gifts Sing

by Abby @ Quaver on March 19, 2013

in Around the Web,Music Matters

Welcome back Quaver guest blogger Jeannine Everett – violinist, chamber musician, and all around student of music!

Take it away Jeannine:


I can be a bit of a cynic. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity. We’re surrounded by it—our media, our politics—even our entertainment. Nothing sends my cynicism soaring more than reality television.

But you know what melts my icy blue heart? Britain’s Got Talent.

Not the American version. I’m not a fan of the American version. Our culture is too celebrity obsessed. It has to be the British version. Let me tell you why (and it’s not just because Quaver is British, too!).

Every so often someone takes the stage who looks like they’ve had a “Kick Me” sign tacked on their back for as long as they can remember. You can see it in their eyes, their walk, how they hold themselves. All their life, someone has told them that they are stupid, or fat, or funny looking, or have a hobby that isn’t cool. The audience screams “loser” without even having to say it.

But these people have a secret. They have some amazing, undeniable talent—

They have the kind of talent where the heavens or grace or fate has reached out and said, “You. I’m giving you this gift. Please use it.”

I especially like when Simon Cowell gets blown off his chair after saying something particularly cutting. These amazing people have been told “You stink” thousands of times. But at least someone (and hopefully themselves) has said, “You are amazing,” and they choose to believe that instead.

They stand up on stage, knowing this is the moment to let their secret go, and when they do, the angels weep, and so do I, and my icy blue heart becomes nothing more than a puddle of tepid water.

Maybe it’s the music that does me in, but I think it’s because in some small way, I know how they feel.

I think we all have secrets–a piece of ourselves that we protect, afraid it’s too fragile to stand up to a hard world.

Unfortunately, I think we learn it when we are very young.

As parents, educators and musicians, we have a unique opportunity to see these gifts when they are nothing more than a tiny glimmer. Sometimes it comes from places we least expect, or where it’s least appreciated or nurtured by the world outside our doorway.

The world may not appreciate their gift, but we can, and we get to be their amplifier.

All we have to do is create a safe space and tell them to let it out. It sounds so easy to say, but can be so hard to do in a cynical world. Let them know that when they are ready to let their gifts sing, I, like so many others, are ready to listen. We’ll make sure to have the tissues handy.

How do you encourage the gifts you see in your students?

Have you seen them step up and into their talents in your classroom?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Marcus Johnson March 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Wow…this is what I fight for within my music room. Students need to realize how valuable they are; today’s society seems to want to do the opposite by demoralizing and dehumanizing them. I’m not going to stand for it!


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