A friend posted a wonderful message on Facebook a bit ago called Why Teach Music . When I asked if she wrote it, she said that she had not. But that did not make the message any less meaningful to her. It made it more. Because like a song the message resonated with her, with me, and with so many others. Music is powerful. It celebrates the times of our lives, it teaches us structure and it fuels our creativity. So I asked my friend, a life long music lover and teacher of music to share with me why music makes a difference and here is what Lynne Kearney had to share.
Lynne is a recently retired public school music teacher who taught elementary music for twelve years in the Danbury, CT public schools and ten years at the Middle School and High School in the Region 14 Woodbury Bethlehem, CT school system While she may have retired from public school teaching, she is still helping students prepare for their regional music festival and All-State auditions and performances. Then she attend the festivals to support these fine young musicians.
JKW: When did YOU discover your love for music?
LK: My love for music began when I was very young. I was blessed that there was always some kind of music in our house. We would always be listening to records or the TV, where we watched and listened to concerts, Lawrence Welk or Ed Sullivan. My mother took my sister and I to many concerts of the Danbury Symphony and whatever else we could see for free. We all took piano lessons. Richard played the accordion. In school, my sister Ysabel learned to play the trumpet and I learned to play the clarinet. We sang in the church choir. In eighth grade I started to accompany the glee club at Main Street School and I became the organist at my church. In high school, my music teacher and mentor was Mr. James Humphreville. He is also the person who encouraged me to study music education. After getting my teaching degree many years later, it was he who hired me as a music teacher in the Danbury School system.
JKW: There is something magical about sharing what we love. How do you share the magic?
LK: A few weekends ago, I took a friend, who is at the tender age of 2 ½ , to see a New Haven Symphony’s children’s performance of a world premiere, Greta’s Dream. This is a new work about a hippo who wants to learn to fly. The ensemble for this adorable story consisted of a story teller and four double basses. They had my little friend, and all of the other wee ones mesmerized. And this is where it needs to start, if indeed it has not already been started.
My three best friends, Susann, Sandy, and Nancy are all musicians. We met between thirty-seven and forty years ago, doing community theater. Music is major in our lives and we celebrate each other’s birthdays in song. I can’t imagine our lives without song.”
JKW: How has music made a difference in your life?
It is my life. While in college I accompanied many of my fellow students’ recitals. I taught music in a nursery school. I also played the piano for a ballet school and started music directing musicals at the Brookfield Little Theater and other local theaters. I gave private piano lessons for many, many years. While in high school and college I was a fifer in the Connecticut Rebels of ’76 Ancient Fife and Drum Corps. Every guy I dated was a musician. I met my husband, Jack, doing musical theater.
While in the active years of my teaching I was President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association. This organization shows the wonderful process of how to teach children the joy of learning music through singing, dancing and playing of simple instruments. I was also Choral Representative for Connecticut Music Education Association and on many Connecticut State music committees that helped develop music curriculum and evaluation of music teachers. I was festival chair and choral chair of the Berkshire League Music Festival several times. I was active in both middle school and high school music festivals throughout the last ten years of my teaching. I took thirty credits, beyond my sixth year, of music courses that would make me be a vital music teacher to my students. I love music and I wanted to share that joy with them. I wanted to plant seeds to help them grow into life-long participants of music, audience members, appreciators of what music gave them, humanity, sensitivity, and feelings.
JKW: How have you seen music make a difference in the lives of others?
LK: Well, it certainly was a part of my children’s lives. They both studied piano. In school Josh learned to play the trumpet and Betsy learned to play the clarinet and bass clarinet. They were both active in their schools music programs. Betsy sang with the Litchfield County Children’s Choir for several years. (I ultimately co-conducted that group for about five years.)
Over the years I have sung with the Danbury Concert Chorus, the Connecticut Choral Society, Alamanda, and am now singing with the Waterbury Chorale. I was music director for the Thomaston Opera House for several years as well as Minister of Music in three different Lutheran churches for over forty years.
JKW: Why is music education important?
LK: Just read Why Teach Music. I can’t say it any better. That is why I was compelled to share it.
JKW: What can readers do to help keep the love of music alive in their communities?
LK: Be proactive. Join local music organizations, be it a choral group, a band, a music or concert association. Attend public school performances. Support our young musicians. Give them a pat on the back for a job well done.
Donate used instruments that you no longer use, to your local schools. If you play the piano or an instrument, ask if you might help accompany a group or play in a musical selection that might call for your instrument. Let the teachers or directors know that you are available. Help with logistics of programs, whether it be to write out the program or help set up risers.
If you have a child who is learning to play an instrument or is taking voice lessons, (or dancing or painting), encourage them to practice, but remember not to take away the joy of their new adventure. Share their excitement. It will only get better and better.
We are fortunate in our community in that we have founded the Woodbury-Bethlehem Community Music Foundation. We are a public charity that seeks to enhance consciousness and enthusiasm for music activities and experiences for music activities. We want to provide our community with valuable life learning and appreciation of music. This organization has funded the local school region to start a full-fledged string program. We are very excited about that! You can find out more info on Facebook and on our website.
JKW: What is one of your favorite music memories?
LK: In March of my last teaching year, I had a concert with all of my choral students, current and previous members, faculty, former college music colleagues and a professional opera singer. Even my mentor, Jim Humphreville was there. This concert raised over $1200 for the music foundation, but even better than that we all had such fun making music together. That excitement and commitment to the passion of the music performed that evening is what music making is all about.
JKW: So what’s next?
LK: My life’s goal is to share my love and joy, my passion for what music can do for the soul with everyone I come in contact with.
I currently sing with the Waterbury Chorale and the St. Rose of Lima Festival Chorus in Newtown, CT. I am active on the Worship Committee at Our Savior Lutheran Church and have added music in various ways to our services and have plans in the works to form a Hospice Choir.
“Viva la musica! And remember, always keep a song in your heart!” – Lynne Kearney
Music touches our lives in so many different ways. Lynne Kearney first touched mine with her music as musical director in shows I performed in, then as a friend, and in a very special moment as organist and musical director for my wedding 25 years ago.
Valentines weekend is a time when we share what we love with the ones we love. Lynne does this every day of the year. Her story is a great reminder that we can too.
I hope you enjoyed Lynne’s Little Life Story. Stay tuned and as Lynne likes to say.. always keep a song in your heart.
About the Joan:
An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C. Equally important, she is a wife, a mom, and a friend to many around the world keeping in touch through her blogs, with over 150,000 social media friends, and of course face to face. Today, she is the chairman of CorePurpose, Inc. which she founded in 2002 and works to make a difference in her community as the Chairman of the Board of the Opportunity through Entrepreneurship Foundation and as an advisor to The FUSION Foundation and The Healing Trees Humanitarian Project. To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.