Music Teachers – The Best Gift Givers!

January 22, 2015 Stan Pretty

Choir director teaching young choir students

Many of us can recall our favorite teacher, or certainly the one that has had the most influential impact on our later lives. This may be in the form of our interest in literature, politics, a sport, or indeed almost any area of interest that otherwise may have passed us by. An obvious one, certainly, is music. How many of us can remember being introduced to the wonders of the musical world by an enthusiastic and well-informed communicator? I suspect many.

 How many of us can remember being introduced to the wonders of the musical world by an enthusiastic and well-informed communicator? I suspect many. 

As an Encore Tour Manager, this is something that I see happening before my very eyes every tour. I have had the great pleasure of seeing inspirational music teachers, conductors, directors, and musicians leading their group of students and giving them experiences that they will never forget. I don’t just mean the particular travel experience they're on, but the obvious fulfillment they feel when striving for artistic excellence. Yes, the tour is something that we at Encore certainly hope will be an experience that they will never forget, but on a personal level, I am continually delighted to see what happens when the concert parts of the tours occur.

 On a personal level, I am continually delighted to see what happens when the concert parts of the tours occur, [because] when it comes to anything to do with the performance parts of the tours, [the students] turn into a unified, organic group

Up until then, the young people have been their inimitable selves – some extroverted, some quiet, some shy, some funny – just fun folk enjoying themselves and taking in, in their own ways, the excitements of traveling in a different country and experiencing new things. But when it comes to anything to do with the performance parts of the tours, they suddenly turn into a unified, organic group. This may even be something as simple as their leader instructing them to take some some R&R, or a period of quiet, before a rehearsal or the concert. It is immediately apparent that this is a group of people who have worked hard together and are striving for the same result.

Young violinist shaking hands with her orchestra director and smiling

And I can confirm that the results are extraordinary. Yes, this is the teacher they will remember for the rest of their lives, for that teacher has given them the opportunity to achieve something they, perhaps, had no idea they could do, and an introduction to one of the greatest pleasures of life...music!

I speak on a personal level here as a parent. And I hope that some past, present and (hopefully) future Encore parents will be interested in this personal story. I can thank my inspirational piano teacher for introducing me to classical music, which has been such a joy to me since those early lessons. For instance, I cannot imagine life without Mozart, my abiding passion. Although I became technically proficient, it was apparent that my talents lay elsewhere. But in the case of my son Steve, it is a different story.

 Having tried various instruments at primary school, one day he was handed a flugelhorn and the rest, as they say, is history. That music teacher was the start

Having tried various instruments at primary school, one day he was handed a flugelhorn and the rest, as they say, is history. That music teacher was the start. Then came the local Saturday morning music club, and then high school. It was here that the Assistant Music Head ran the Jazz Band, and Steve blossomed.

The band gave many performances, including while on tours abroad – just like Encore Tours. Later at university, where he was studying literature and philosophy, Steve conducted and played trumpet and flugelhorn in his university's highly successful Big Band. By his early twenties, he had become a professional musician and today runs his own band – the Hackney Colliery Band – which tours the UK and abroad and was the warm-up band performing in front of 80,000 people at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics.

 By his early twenties, he had become a professional musician and today runs his own band – the Hackney Colliery Band – which tours the UK and abroad and was the warm-up band performing in front of 80,000 people at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics. 

He also plays in many other bands, including a Bollywood Band which often travels to India to play at weddings. And now he, too, is passing on his expertise and experience to young musicians through the pupils he teaches and the workshops he runs.

Now when I meet our Encore students, I wonder how many of them may go on to a career in music or music teaching. Whether they do or not, they will have had handed to them by hard working people a most precious gift: the love of music!


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About the Author

Stan Pretty

Stan Pretty has been an ACIS/Encore tour manager for over 15 years. As an actor, he has performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad. He has also directed a number of large-scale community plays and even received an MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his work in 2004.

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