Lessons in Learning: Some Things are Built to Last

by Abby @ Quaver on June 17, 2014

in In the Quaver Classroom!,This Month in Music

We love hosting voices like Jeannine Everett’s on the Quaver Music blog!

As a lifelong musician and now principal second violin in the Reston Community Orchestra; Jeannine brings a performer and a student’s perspective to the blog that we are grateful to share!

Today Jeannine is back and talking about the timeless value of music education.


Some things are built to last.

This year I will turn fifty, and I can’t help looking back a little. I began playing the violin at the age of 8, after torturing my family with three months of song flute. I was allowed to choose any instrument I wanted, except for drums (apparently more torturous than song flute). I remember holding the bow for the first time and feeling the pull across the strings. It was . . . magic.

I played through my school years in various orchestras, into college, and even beyond, playing with a regional orchestra for amateur musicians. Then my marketing career kicked off. I got married, took a job that required travel, had my son, and moved across the country twice. I didn’t have time to play my violin outside of a wedding here and there or a rare quiet moment.

It was fifteen years before I was able to come back to my old love, and when it did, my violin was there, waiting.

I’ve read studies about how studying music improves math skills, SAT scores, teaches diligence and cooperation and I believe all of these things to be true.

The reason I believe music education is so important is that music was always there for me, and still is.

How many things can I say that about?

  • When I made my fifth move in ten years, joining an orchestra gave me fifty new friends in one night.
  • When my father was terribly ill, playing was the only activity that lifted my spirit and took my thoughts elsewhere.
  • When I began to take master classes, I realized just how much I had yet to learn, but also that it is never too late.

Music is timeless and ageless.

It has been a source of strength and joy at every stage of my life. But it wouldn’t have been there if Mrs. Prior hadn’t put that violin in my hands forty-two years ago. Could I have been better served by more hours of math or science? I’ll never know, but I’m so glad that music was a part of my life then, so it could be a part of my life now.

So when people ask you why music matters, you can share the studies and the expert opinions, but also feel free to share my little love letter to music education.

Music helped me approach my studies with a logical mind and well-honed discipline, but more importantly, music helps me approach my life with an open heart and unmeasurable joy. Here’s hoping I’m brushing rosin dust off my black pants another fifty years. I should be so lucky.


Do you remember when you first fell in love with music? What a gift to be able to share that with students!

Editor’s Note: Imagine joining a band and getting 50 new friends, right off the bat! What a great way to encourage students moving on to middle and high school to stay involved in music. We agree with Jeannine that it makes a school smaller!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather June 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

I haven’t played flute in ages, though I went to an arts high school. Like Jeannine, when I moved west, I joined a concert band and developed a community. Since then, my career has taken me away from practicing music, but I still enjoy it, and my ear has tuned my singing voice. Do I regret that I can’t play music because of my career? Not a chance. You see, I’m in my career of choice because of music. Rewind back to 1998, when I went for my interview for the School of Architecture. I had a somewhat reasonable drawing portfolio, but I also brought my flute and music. I was used to performing. My interview panel eyed my flute case after looking at my portfolio and asked what else I could show them. I told them I intended to play. And I did, a lovely Mozart piece that I can still almost play by memory to this day. When they asked why, I told them there is more than one way to experience a space. I was very fortunate to have a proficient guitarist on my interview panel, and I got in. Now I practice architecture, and have even worked on theatres. So, thank you music.


2 Abby @ Quaver June 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm

What a wonderful story, Heather! Thank you for sharing! Keep playing :)


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