Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lindsey Judd: The First Teacher Has Impact

In the bustling suburbs of Chicago, IL, Let's Play Music is blooming in the studio of veteran teacher, Lindsey Judd.  Lindsey currently teaches Sound Beginnings,  Let's Play Music, private piano, and voice lessons: not a light load for a mom with a newborn (her 5th child) just arrived in 2014!

I Knew I Would Teach Someday

Let's Play Music students begin our program at age five.  That makes perfect sense to Lindsey; that's when she began lessons, too. Even back then, she felt the premonition that she, too, might one day become a music teacher.  "I think teaching was 'in me' from the start because all throughout my years of lessons, I took mental notes of what my teachers did: things I loved and things I didn't love. Now I'm finally incorporating all of what I've gleaned."

The First Teacher Has Impact

Lindsey told me about her first teaching gig.  "When I was fifteen, a family at church asked me to teach piano lessons to their two daughters. In one moment I was both honored and terrified! I remember sitting in the school cafeteria at lunchtime, a few hours before our first lesson together, feeling the weight of being the first one to introduce these girls to piano.  I knew that as a first teacher, I could shape their entire piano experience."  

Fortunately that first experience went very well and that first family (with 7 children) kept Lindsey as a teacher for them all.  She identified, early on, an important truth we hold dear at Let's Play Music: A child's first experience with music must be fun, playful, and loving.  The environment and attitude around the first experience determines much about the many years to follow for a young musician!

Just an example of the fun you might find in Lindsey's class: Baby Natalie made a guest appearance this week, in the role of Bunny as the students played 'Bunny's Birdhouse' on their keyboards.

Give Them Success 

Not all of Lindsey's early lessons were so successful. One very young student, petite and adorable, struggled with finger strength.  "She wanted to learn to play so badly! Her yearning was tangible.  It broke my heart to see her small, weak hands struggle to push the keys, week after week.  She eventually stopped lessons because it was too frustrating.  Years later, when I found the Let's Play Music curriculum, I remembered this student and wished I could have introduced her to LPM! It would have enabled her passion to flourish without the discouragement from having little fingers.  It breaks my heart to think that any child might associate music with disappointment. Let's Play Music was designed for student's to have the maximum positive musical experience, and I'm grateful for it."

We Teach Music...and Life Skills

Balancing a music studio and five young children isn't easy.  Lindsey let me know that Let's Play Music isn't just the job; it's helping her with the mothering! She says, "Teaching the LPM curriculum helped me rediscover the fun, spontaneous side of myself that got a little rundown in motherhood.  We now implement LPM methods in our home; for example, we create songs for routines, like our jazzy original tune 'Socks, shoes, coats and here we go!'. I can hum a few notes from this , my kids echo it back, and know what to do."

Lindsey hopes to share this love of music with her students- not just being able to read and perform music, but to use it in daily living, love it, and play with music at every opportunity. She told me, "Our lives have become a musical!  We burst into song when we are happy, and again when we're so frustrated that singing seems a better outlet than shouting." 

"Making up songs has become our family norm; on one trip home from the store, three children spontaneously starting singing to their crying baby sister to soothe her... in parts! Each separate, spontaneous lullaby was sweet, melodic, and rhythmically interesting, layered on the siblings' sweet voices.  The Let's Play Music curriculum isn't just helping these children with pitch and theory, they're also learning coping skills; they're also armed with music as a source of strength to use when life gets tough."

"These memories are the moments I hold on to and come back to when practicing seems hard or teaching lessons feels inconvenient." 

Lindsey holds a BFA in Music Dance Theater from Brigham Young University.  You can visit her studio website here or her classes in Skokie, IL.  It was a great pleasure to get to know her better!

- Gina Weibel, M.S. 

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