There are moments in my life when the world slows down long enough for me to have incredibly emotional experiences linked to music. Those moments are pure joy. My goal as a music educator is to facilitate opportunities for my students to connect in that very same way. I’m a music teacher for Montana’s Big Sky School District, so it’s thrilling when my students embrace powerful moments tied to music that really reach deep, and then find a way to lock into them for the rest of their lives.
One of the purest ways to imbue students with these amazing experiences is through music composition. Spending seven years as music teacher in Big Sky’s rural community, I encounter daily the educational benefits that a small school district offers students, particularly in its abilities to offer more intimate backdrops for learning.
Sadly, though, our less-populated rural areas lack resources—human and otherwise—and this deficit positions our school music programs in circumstances that are less than ideal. Rural communities don’t necessarily have a symphony or a spectacular venue that help our kids discover the “moment” that hooks all musicians. Without exposure to the important outside influences that help shape musical futures, we rural districts are essentially making music by ourselves, operating in a bit of a vacuum, which can prevent students and educators from accessing beauty through music.…Read More